Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/3614
Title: An Investigation of the Jingpo Nominal Structure
Authors: Cheung, Candice Chi-Hang
Keywords: Sino-Tibetan Languages
Tibeto-Burman Languages
Jingpo
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Hong Kong University
Abstract: This dissertation aims to achieve two main goals: first, the major purpose of this dissertation is to provide a plausible and unified account for the word order of the noun phrases in Jingpo, a minority language spoken in Yunnan. Interestingly, while we note that the fixed word order, i.e. [N(oun) + Cl(assifier) + Card(inal Number)] of the Jingpo noun phrases seems to be correlated with the surface Subject-Object-Verb order at the sentential level in that both are seemingly head-final, the language displays an asymmetry in singular versus plural demonstratives: singular demonstratives (Dem-Sg) can occur freely in either prenominal or postnominal positions, whereas plural demonstratives (Dem-Pl) are restricted to appear postnominally. More precisely, it is noted that three different orders are permitted for noun phrases having demonstratives: (i) [Dem-Sg + N + Cl + Card], (ii) [N + Dem-Sg/Dem-Pl + Cl + Card], and (iii) [N + Cl + Dem-Sg/Dem-Pl + Card]. In an attempt to account for the word order variations as manifested in the noun phrases with demonstratives, two theories of linear ordering are adopted in this dissertation, namely, Fukui and Saito’s (1996) formulation of Merge and Kayne’s (1994) Linear Correspondence Axiom (LCA), and our investigation substantiates that the different word orders are bestcaptured under the Kaynean approach. Second, despite the fact that Jingpo has long been recognized as a classifier language by traditional grammarians, the language displays many unusual properties in its nouns phrases which are clearly absent in other wellstudied classifier languages like Mandarin and Cantonese. For instance, Jingpo allows the optionality of classifiers when they combine with count nouns, and it possesses two plural morphemes -hte and -ni, where the latter shares, in essence, many similar properties with the ‘true’ plural marker in non-classifier languages. Therefore, another objective of this dissertation is to account for these intriguing properties of Jingpo. Specifically, our investigation touches upon some typological issues, including the roles of classifiers, plural morphemes in classifier languages as well as the role of the ‘true’ plural marker in nonclassifier languages.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/3614
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