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Burmese in Mon syntax: external influence and internal development


Jenny, Mathias (2011). Burmese in Mon syntax: external influence and internal development. In: Srichampa, Sophana; Sidwell, Paul; Gregerson, Kenneth. Austroasiatic Studies: papers from ICAAL 4. Dallas, Salaya, Canberra: SIL International. Mahidol University, Pacific Linguistics, 48-64.

Abstract

Since the 11th century Mon has been in close political, cultural and linguistic contact with Burmese, which led to mutual influence on all levels of the language. Apart from lexical borrowings and calques, the influence of Burmese, though more difficult to demonstrate, can also be seen in Mon syntax. In many cases what looks like Burmese grammatical calques in Mon can also be explained as Mon internal development, or “enhancement of an already existing feature”, i.e. an existing (but maybe marginal) construction type in Mon which became prevalent because of its similarity to a corresponding construction in Burmese. In other cases assimilation to Burmese syntax with indigenous Mon material may have led to restructuring with an outcome rather different from both Old Mon and Burmese.
Not much has been published in terms of syntactic convergence or “pattern” transfer to Mon from Burmese, including the modern language, and the aim of this paper, as part of a broader study of language contact phenomena in Burmese and neighbouring languages, is to at least partly fill this gap.
This study looks at some constructions in Mon with possible Burmese influence as well as pre-existing structures in Mon which can be seen as their sources. The constructions to be discussed in detail are relative/attributive expressions, conditional and complement clauses, and word order in interrogatives.

Since the 11th century Mon has been in close political, cultural and linguistic contact with Burmese, which led to mutual influence on all levels of the language. Apart from lexical borrowings and calques, the influence of Burmese, though more difficult to demonstrate, can also be seen in Mon syntax. In many cases what looks like Burmese grammatical calques in Mon can also be explained as Mon internal development, or “enhancement of an already existing feature”, i.e. an existing (but maybe marginal) construction type in Mon which became prevalent because of its similarity to a corresponding construction in Burmese. In other cases assimilation to Burmese syntax with indigenous Mon material may have led to restructuring with an outcome rather different from both Old Mon and Burmese.
Not much has been published in terms of syntactic convergence or “pattern” transfer to Mon from Burmese, including the modern language, and the aim of this paper, as part of a broader study of language contact phenomena in Burmese and neighbouring languages, is to at least partly fill this gap.
This study looks at some constructions in Mon with possible Burmese influence as well as pre-existing structures in Mon which can be seen as their sources. The constructions to be discussed in detail are relative/attributive expressions, conditional and complement clauses, and word order in interrogatives.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:01 Dec 2011 15:18
Last Modified:01 May 2016 13:44
Publisher:SIL International. Mahidol University, Pacific Linguistics
Series Name:Mon-Khmer Studies Journal Special Issue
Number:3
ISBN:9780858836426
Related URLs:http://pacling.anu.edu.au/materials/materials.html
http://icaal.org/
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51300

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