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Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Kulikov, Leonid

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Modal verbs and modal constructions in Ladakhi

Bettina Zeisler
Published Online: 2014-03-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2014-0003


The paper describes different types of modal expressions, particularly expressions of ability, in Ladakhi, a Tibetic language spoken in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India. A special focus lies on the unexpected syntactic behaviour of complex modal verb constructions, where the semantics of both the modal verb and the event verb contribute to the realisation of surface case marking, so that the event verb can no longer be analysed as being a complement of the modal verb. This intertwined syntax appears to be the result of a compositional process. The observable variation in syntactic behaviour across dialects and idiolects further allows for reconstruction of the compositional process.

Keywords: Ladakhi; expressions of ability; intertwined syntax; compositional process

About the article

Bettina Zeisler

Bettina Zeisler obtained a PhD (Freie Universität Berlin 1999) for her work on Relative tense and aspectual values in Tibetan languages (Mouton deGruyter 2004). Ever since, she has worked on the grammar and history of Tibetan languages with publications on West Tibetan history, Old Tibetan, and, particularly, Ladakhi. She is currently preparing a Valency Dictionary of Ladakhi Verbs at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, based on regular fieldwork in Ladakh since 2002.

Published Online: 2014-03-15

Published in Print: 2014-03-01

Citation Information: Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 31–57, ISSN (Online) 2196-078X, ISSN (Print) 2196-0771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2014-0003.

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