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Title: Morphology and Syntax of Spoken Mon
Authors: Bauer, Christian Hartmut Richard
Keywords: Mon - Grammar
Mon-Khmer Languages
Austro-Asiatic Languages
Issue Date: 1982
Publisher: SOAS, University of London
Abstract: The material for this description of modern spoken Mon was collected in northern and central Thailand during visits between 1978-80. The grammatical outline is interdialectal in so far as additional data from Burma varieties as described by H.L.Shorto (1962) - whose transcription is adopted here - have been included. The position of Mon within the Eastern Austroasiatic group is peculiar - isolated from the Southern (Aslian), Northern and Eastern languages. Old Mon, with epigraphs dating back to the 6th c. AD, shares with Nicobarese a fully developed inflectional morphology but differs in wordstructure. Various phonological changes such as the simplification of initial and medioclusters in Middle Mon ( 1 5th c. AD), except for -mC- (which is retained in modern literary, but lost in modern spoken, Mon), affected the shape and distribution of affixes. This resulted in the merger of certain affixes, or Af'fix-synkretismus, a phenomenon hitherto recognized only in Germanic languages: Thus OM <-r- and <-rn-> merge to SM -9-) and OM --> and -rmerge to SM <-->. Morphology in the modern dialects is derivational only and the process of derivation no longer productive. The scope of the affixes extends over verbal (causative, attributive, frequentative), nominal (agentival, instrumental &c.) and pronominal (locative, deictic) categories; segmental affixes include <Pi?->, ce—>, (syllabic) <1-), a->, <t-> and the nasalized series and <N_> as well as <p-> as prefixes and -n->, <-w->, <-rn->, (-r->, <--> as infixes. Two morphological processes are recognized, nasalization and labialization of the medial consonant ccv(c). The main differences between the dialects in Burma and Thailand are lexical (loans) and phonological, the Eastern dialects retaining MM *ky_ _*gy_ *khY_ initials (shifted in the Western dialects to /c- - c 2 , ch-/) but showing innovations in ba a/ > /oe- - a/ and N- > hN- for MM *tN_*kN_ initials. In common with some Eastern AA languages spoken Non distinguishes between two phonologically relevant 'registers' affecting vocalism (peripheral/central) and voice-quality (tense/lax-breathy). The major distinctive characteristics of spoken Non, isolating it from other related languages, are confined to its syntax; they lie mainly in a highly complex nominal piece with 'plurality' and 'determination' overtly marked by clitics - not attested in any other MK language -, rigidly ordered, and lacking 'classifiers', in the sense this term is generally understood by S.E.Asian linguists. Other differences include the negation of verbs and statements, and the modal system (assertive/hypothetical-future). In common with most S.E.Asian languages, except Tibeto-Burman, the object follows the verb, but Mon, due to its long exposure to Burmese, exhibits greater variation in word-order. The text is divided evenly into phonology, morphology and syntax and includes a list of bases and derivatives as well as a narrative text with grammatical annotations
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