Tense-aspect morphology from nominalizers in Newar

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This paper examines the historical status of tense-aspect suffixes in the Kathmandu Valley and Eastern branches of Newar. By comparing across branches and triangulating with Classical Newar, the paper demonstrates that the innovative past anterior and present tense markers in Eastern Newar were derived from nominalizers. The future tense marker <i>-i</i>, which is found in both branches of the family, also had nominalizing functions, as did the precursors of every suffix now used in finite contexts in Kathmandu Newar. This suggests that the current finite morphology in the Kathmandu Valley varieties was entirely derived from nominalizers as the original system of verb agreement was lost. The mechanism for this process would have been non-embedded nominalization, a common syntactic pattern of Tibeto-Burman.


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