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Egophoricity, involvement, and semantic roles in Tibeto-Burman languages


Widmer, Manuel; Zúñiga, Fernando (2017). Egophoricity, involvement, and semantic roles in Tibeto-Burman languages. Open Linguistics, 3:419-441.

Abstract

In this study, we explore typological aspects of egophoricity marking on the basis of a number of selected Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas. Conceptualizing egophoricity as a grammatical category in its own right that marks access to knowledge, we first discuss how egophoricity marking interacts with evidentiality in the Tibeto-Burman languages Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan. We then go on to explore the differences between the egophoricity systems of Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan, arguing that the variability of egophoricity within and across languages can be captured if we distinguish (i) constructions in which egophoricity markers express privileged access to knowledge due to actional involvement in the role of an event participant from (ii) constructions in which egophoricity markers express privileged access to knowledge due to epistemic involvement in the role of a "knower" whose precise relation to the event is not specified. We additionally introduce a set of five semantic roles to offer a more detailed description of the egophoricity systems of Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan (and also, albeit marginally, Kathmandu Newar and Galo). This study thus offers a new perspective on the variability of egophoricity systems in Tibeto-Burman and propagates an analytical approach that may also be helpful for analyzing egophoricity systems in other language families of the world.

Abstract

In this study, we explore typological aspects of egophoricity marking on the basis of a number of selected Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayas. Conceptualizing egophoricity as a grammatical category in its own right that marks access to knowledge, we first discuss how egophoricity marking interacts with evidentiality in the Tibeto-Burman languages Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan. We then go on to explore the differences between the egophoricity systems of Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan, arguing that the variability of egophoricity within and across languages can be captured if we distinguish (i) constructions in which egophoricity markers express privileged access to knowledge due to actional involvement in the role of an event participant from (ii) constructions in which egophoricity markers express privileged access to knowledge due to epistemic involvement in the role of a "knower" whose precise relation to the event is not specified. We additionally introduce a set of five semantic roles to offer a more detailed description of the egophoricity systems of Shigatse Tibetan and Bunan (and also, albeit marginally, Kathmandu Newar and Galo). This study thus offers a new perspective on the variability of egophoricity systems in Tibeto-Burman and propagates an analytical approach that may also be helpful for analyzing egophoricity systems in other language families of the world.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, 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:October 2017
Deposited On:06 Mar 2018 13:14
Last Modified:18 Apr 2018 11:49
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:2300-9969
Funders:Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0021

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