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Object-conditioned differential marking in Chintang and Nepali


Schikowski, Robert. Object-conditioned differential marking in Chintang and Nepali. 2013, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

This study deals with two syntactic alternation patterns found in two languages of Nepal: differential object marking (DOM) in Nepali (Indo-European > Indo-Aryan) and differential object indexing (DOI) linked to differential agent marking in Chintang (Tibeto-Burman > Kiranti). The aim of the study is to conduct in-depth analyses of these two phenomena based on corpus annotations and including necessary methodological innovations, as well as to compare them in order to reach conclusions about alternations conditioned by properties of objects in general. The investigation of Nepali DOM showed that while this phenomenon is formally simple, it is functionally highly complex. It is conditioned by a plethora of properties of the object, many of which had not been noticed before, such as animacy, specificity, quantifiability, topicality, part of speech, focus, affectedness, and role ambiguity. A rule-based approach can neither cover the full range of variation found in this area in natural language nor can it model DOM in a conceptually sound way. For these reasons, a probabilistic analysis was conducted in the form of logistic regression and shown to be superior to the rule-based analysis. By contrast, Chintang DOI turned out to be functionally simple in being basically conditioned by a single factor (specificity) but to be formally intertwined in complex ways with many other areas of morphosyntax such as valency classes, non-finite clauses, raising, and marking of aspect. In addition, it could be shown that quantifiability is a pre-condition for specificity and that these two properties interact in various ways in Chintang. Most of the differences between Nepali DOM and Chintang DOI can be traced back to fundamental differences between case marking and agreement. The general picture emerging is that the main function of DOM is to mark objects with unusual properties, whereas DOI marks objects that are easy to track in discourse.

This study deals with two syntactic alternation patterns found in two languages of Nepal: differential object marking (DOM) in Nepali (Indo-European > Indo-Aryan) and differential object indexing (DOI) linked to differential agent marking in Chintang (Tibeto-Burman > Kiranti). The aim of the study is to conduct in-depth analyses of these two phenomena based on corpus annotations and including necessary methodological innovations, as well as to compare them in order to reach conclusions about alternations conditioned by properties of objects in general. The investigation of Nepali DOM showed that while this phenomenon is formally simple, it is functionally highly complex. It is conditioned by a plethora of properties of the object, many of which had not been noticed before, such as animacy, specificity, quantifiability, topicality, part of speech, focus, affectedness, and role ambiguity. A rule-based approach can neither cover the full range of variation found in this area in natural language nor can it model DOM in a conceptually sound way. For these reasons, a probabilistic analysis was conducted in the form of logistic regression and shown to be superior to the rule-based analysis. By contrast, Chintang DOI turned out to be functionally simple in being basically conditioned by a single factor (specificity) but to be formally intertwined in complex ways with many other areas of morphosyntax such as valency classes, non-finite clauses, raising, and marking of aspect. In addition, it could be shown that quantifiability is a pre-condition for specificity and that these two properties interact in various ways in Chintang. Most of the differences between Nepali DOM and Chintang DOI can be traced back to fundamental differences between case marking and agreement. The general picture emerging is that the main function of DOM is to mark objects with unusual properties, whereas DOI marks objects that are easy to track in discourse.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation
Referees:Bickel Balthasar, Zúñiga Fernando
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Comparative Linguistics
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
890 Other literatures
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:28 Nov 2013 14:55
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:12
Number of Pages:361
Funders:DFG via ESF
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-85666

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