A grammar of Yakkha
Diana Schackow
Politics & Social Sciences
A grammar of Yakkha
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This grammar provides the first comprehensive grammatical description of Yakkha, a Sino-Tibetan language of the Kiranti branch. Yakkha is spoken by about 14,000 speakers in eastern Nepal, in the Sankhuwa Sabha and Dhankuta districts. The grammar is based on original fieldwork in the Yakkha community. Its primary source of data is a corpus of 13,000 clauses from narratives and naturally-occurring social interaction which the author recorded and transcribed between 2009 and 2012. Corpus analyses were complemented by targeted elicitation. The grammar is written in a functional-typological framework. It focusses on morphosyntactic and semantic issues, as these present highly complex and comparatively under-researched fields in Kiranti languages. The sequence of the chapters follows the well-established order of phonological, morphological, syntactic and discourse-structural descriptions. These are supplemented by a historical and sociolinguistic introduction as well as an analysis of the complex kinship terminology. Topics such as verbal person marking, argument structure, transitivity, complex predication, grammatical relations, clause linkage, nominalization, and the topography-based orientation system have received in-depth treatment. Wherever possible, the structures found were explained in a historical-comparative perspective in order to shed more light on how their particular properties have emerged.

Aims of this grammar
How to use the grammar
Structure of the book
Orthography and transliterations
Glossing and further conventions
Notes on terminology
Generalized Semantic Roles (gsrs)
Data sources
The corpus
The lexical database
Earlier studies on Yakkha language and culture
Typological overview of the Yakkha language
Word classes
The Yakkha language and its speakers
Geographical context
Cultural and historical background
The Yakkha
Ethnic affiliation
Language names
Subsistence and economy
Material culture
Social organization and religion
Genealogical affiliation
Sociolinguistic context
Dialectal variation
Phoneme inventory and allophonic rules
Vowel phonemes
Consonant phonemes
The main phonemic distinctions in the consonants
Marginal consonant phonemes
The phonemic status of the glottal stop
The status of /r/ in Yakkha and in an Eastern Kiranti perspective
Aspirated voiced consonants
Syllable structure
The phonological treatment of Nepali and English loans
Stress assignment
Morphophonological processes
The prefixation of underspecified nasals
Vowel harmony
Operations to avoid adjacent vowels
Vowel deletion
Insertion of glides
Consonants in sonorous environment
Intervocalic /h/ and /w/
Nasals in sonorous environment
Operations involving nasals
Nasality assimilation
Nasalization of codas
Insertion of nasals
Nasal copying
Pronouns, demonstratives, quantifiers, numerals, interrogatives
Personal pronouns
Possessive pronouns and nominal possessive inflection
Possessive pronouns
Possessive prefixes
Obligatory possession
Proximal, distal and anaphoric deixis
Demonstrative adverbs and quantifiers
Indefinite reference
Quantifiers, numerals and numeral classifiers
Quantification, size and degree
Numerals and classifiers
Cardinal numerals
Counting events
Interrogative proforms
The noun phrase
Noun formation and properties of lexical nouns
Lexical nominalizations
Co-compounds and sub-compounds
Botanical terms and nouns referring to liquids
Lexical diminutives
Rhyming in compounds
Proper nouns and teknonymy
The count/mass distinction
Inherent duality
Nominal inflectional morphology
Omission of nonsingular =ci
Associative interpretations of nonsingular marking
Core case markers (Group I)
The nominative (unmarked)
The ergative =ŋa
The instrumental =ŋ(a)
The genitive =ka
The locative =pe
The ablative =phaŋ
The comitative =nuŋ
Further case markers (Group II)
The direction and manner marker khaʔla
The temporal ablative marker nhaŋto
The comparative marker haksaŋ/haʔniŋ
The equative and similative marker loʔa
The equative marker for size hiŋ
The privative marker maʔniŋ
Postpositions from Nepali
Relational nouns
The structure of the noun phrase
Possessive phrases
Other modifiers: adjectives, numerals, quantifiers, demonstratives
Relative clauses
Combinatory possibilities
Information structure inside the noun phrase
Adjectives and adverbs
Kinds of adjectives
Color terms
Adjectives in attributive and in predicative function
Comparison, equation and degree
The equative
The comparative and the superlative
Manner adverbs derived by the comitative =nuŋ
Temporal adverbs
Adverbs based on obligatorily possessed nouns
Adverbs derived by -lik ~ -lek
Marginal derivations
Non-derived adverbs
Reduplication, triplication and ideophones
Reduplication in adjectives
Reduplication in adverbs
Ideophonic adverbs
The geomorphic orientation system
Motion verbs
Verbal inflection
Stem formation
Stem types
Unaugmented roots
Augmented roots
Morphophonological behavior of stems
Person, number and syntactic role marking
Tense and aspect marking
The nonpast
The past tenses
The simple past
The perfect
The past perfect
The progressive
The periphrastic continuative
The transitive completive
Tense/aspect paradigm tables
The subjunctive
The Optative
The Imperative
Periphrastic honorific inflection
The inflection of the copulas
The identificational copula (with a zero infinitive)
The existential verb wama
Further markers
Non-finite forms
Noun-verb predicates
Simple noun-verb predicates
Experiencer-as-possessor constructions
Subframes of argument realization
Semantic properties
Morphosyntactic properties
Wordhood vs. phrasehood
Behavioral properties of the experiencer arguments
Complex predication
Formal properties
The functions of the V2s
The V2 -piʔ (benefactive, affected participants)
The quasi-V2 -i ~ -ni (completive)
The V2 -ca (reflexive, middle, autobenefactive)
The quasi-V2 -siʔ (middle, unintentional)
The V2 -kheʔ (motion away, sbj]telicitytelicity)
The V2 -ra (motion towards)
The V2 -raʔ (caused motion towards)
The V2 -uks (motion down towards)
The V2 -ukt (caused motion down towards)
The V2 -ap (motion towards, from close nearby)
The V2 -apt (caused motion towards, from close nearby)
The V2 -ris (caused motion to a distant goal)
The V2 -bhes (caused horizontal motion towards)
The V2 -end (caused motion downwards)
The V2 -ket (caused motion up and towards)
The V2 -haks (caused motion away, irreversibility)
The V2 -khet (caused motion along with A)
The quasi-V2 -a ~ -na (do X and leave object)
The V2 -nes (continuative)
The V2 -nuŋ (continuative)
The V2 -bhoks (punctual, sudden events)
The V2 -heks (immediate prospective, do separately)
The V2 -ghond (spatially distributed events)
The V2 -siʔ (avoid, prevent)
The V2 -soʔ (experiential)
Frames of argument realization
Theoretical preliminaries
The standard intransitive frame
The intransitive experiencer frame
The motion verb frame
The standard monotransitive frame
The experiencer-as-object frame
The transimpersonal frame
Marginally occurring frames
The locative object frame
The semi-transitive frame
The double nominative frame
The double object frame
The indirective frame
The secundative frame
The experiencer-as-possessor frame
Copular and light verb frames
Frame (a): Identification, equation, class inclusion
Frame (b): Existence, attribution, location, possession
Light verbs
Valency alternations
Inchoative-causative lability
Reflexive lability
Alternations in three-argument verbs
The spray-load alternation
Alternations related to the animacy of G
Scenario-based alternations
Transitivity operations
Unmarked detransitivizations
The passive detransitivization
The antipassive detransitivization
Syncretisms of sbj]detransitivizationdetransitivization and 1nsg reference
The causative construction
The sbj]benefactivebenefactive construction
The reflexive construction
The reciprocal construction
The middle construction
V2 stems signalling animate T arguments
Historical excursus: Stem augments
Simple clauses
Basic clausal properties
Constituent order
Illocutionary functions
Declarative clauses
Hortative and optative clauses
Imperative and prohibitive clauses
Interrogative clauses
Polar questions
Disjunctive questions
Content questions
Exclamative clauses
Flexible agreement
Nominalization and relativization
Lexical nominalization: -pa and -ma
Participant nominalization (S/A arguments): -khuba
Formal properties
Grammatical relations
Predicative use of the nominalized forms
The nominalizers =na and =ha ~ =ya
Adnominal modification and relativization
Headless and internally headed relative clauses
Stand-alone nominalizations
A versatile discourse strategy
The alignment of =na and =ha in main clauses
Correlative clauses
Adverbial clause linkage
The supine converb -se
Infinitival purpose clauses in -ma=ga
Infinitival causal clauses in -ma=ŋa
The simultaneous converb -saŋ
The negative converb meN...le
Comitative clause linkage in =nuŋ
Conditional clauses in bhoŋ
Purpose clauses in bhoŋ
Sequential clause linkage and narrative clause-chaining in =hoŋ
Concessive clauses in =hoŋca
Cotemporal linkage in =niŋ(a)
Counterfactual clauses in =niŋ(go)bi or =hoŋ(go)bi
Interruptive clauses in =lo
Infinitival complement clauses
Predicates with variable valency
Invariably transitive predicates
Three-argument constructions
The intransitively inflected verb kaŋma ‘agree, give in’
Subject complement constructions
The Necessitative construction
Alignment patterns
Comparative notes and discussion
Inflected complement clauses
Predicates of cognition and experience
Utterance predicates
Complement-taking nouns
Connectives on the text level
Sequential connectives
Cotemporal connectives
Adversative connectives
Causal connectives
The connective of negative effect
Discourse particles and interjections
The particle =ko ~ =go
The contrastive topic particle =chen (from Nepali)
The quotative and textual topic particle baŋniŋ
Focus and emphasis
The restrictive focus particle =se
The additive focus particle =ca
The emphatic particle =pa ~ =ba
The emphatic particle =i
The contrastive focus particle =le
The emphatic particle =maŋ
Epistemic, evidential and mirative markers
The reportative particle =pu ~ =bu
The probability particle loppi
The irrealis particle =pi ~ =bi
The mirative particle rahecha (from Nepali)
The exclamative particle lai
The exclamative particle =ʔlo
The exclamative hau ~ =(a)u
Further particles
The alternative particle =em
The question particle i
The insistive particle (a)u
Appendix A: Texts
The owl and I
The Namthalungma rocks
The Linkha man's bet with the sun
Appendix B: Yakkha kinship terms
Appendix C: Index of Yakkha formatives
Name index
Language index
Subject index
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