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Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Bergs, Alexander / Cohn, Abigail C. / Good, Jeff

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Tangut, Gyalrongic, Kiranti and the nature of person indexation in Sino-Tibetan/Trans-Himalayan

Guillaume Jacques
Published Online: 2016-05-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2015-0033


The diachronic analysis of person indexation systems in Sino-Tibetan (Trans-Himalayan) languages is currently a topical issue. Factual errors have occasionally crept in, detracting somewhat from the quality of the linguistic discussion about these systems. Evidence from Tangut, Gyalrongic and Kiranti is so central to the debates that it appeared useful to provide a few clarifications about their person indexation systems, adducing evidence from a body of texts that has been considerably enriched in the past decade. The main points made in this paper can be summarized as follows. First, the view that personal affixes derive diachronically from pronouns is by no means as self-evident as it may seem. Second, person indexation in Tangut, the oldest Trans-Himalayan language with person indexation, is not optional, as has sometimes been stated in the literature. Third, person indexation in Gyalrongic and Kiranti is sensitive to grammatical relations, a finding which calls into question its analysis as marking speech act participant involvement.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Gyalrongic; Kiranti; Tangut; person indexation; agreement; grammaticalization; Sino-Tibetan


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About the article

Received: 2015-11-16

Accepted: 2016-02-12

Published Online: 2016-05-06

Published in Print: 2016-12-01

Funding: This research was funded by the HimalCo project (ANR-12-CORP-0006) and is related to the research strand LR-4.11 ‘‘Automatic Paradigm Generation and Language Description’’ of the Labex EFL (funded by the ANR/CGI). Glosses follow the Leipzig glosses rules, to which the following are added: antierg antiergative, dir direct, hon honorific, irr irrealis, inv inverse, pot potentialis, sens sensory.

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 2, Issue 1, 20150033, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2015-0033.

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