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The grammaticalised use of the Burmese verbs la ‘come’ and thwà ‘go’

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Abstract

This paper describes the grammatical uses of the Burmese motion verbs <i>la</i> &#8216;come&#8217; and <i>thw&#224;</i> &#8216;go&#8217;. The verbal markers -<i>la</i> &#8216;come&#8217; and thw&#224; &#8216;go&#8217; fulfil different functionsaccording to (1) the semantics of the verb they modify, (2) the way in whichevents are represented in the clause/sentence, and (3) the context of occurrencein which -<i>la</i> &#8216;come&#8217;, and <i>thw&#224;</i> &#8216;go&#8217; appear. With motion verbs, they expressdirectionality of motion of the participants in the speech act. With non-motionverbs, they function as inchoative markers, i.e. as markers of a change in theentity&#8217;s state. In addition, <i>thw&#224;</i> &#8216;go&#8217; is used in clauses/sentences to mark the decreasedsalience of the Agent and the correspondent increased salience of the Undergoer.This function of <i>thw&#224;</i> &#8216;go&#8217; will be compared with the function of -<i>lai&#61503;</i> &#8216;follow&#8217;, derived from the motion verb <i>lai&#61503;</i> &#8216;follow&#8217;, which is used to mark a high degree oftransitivity of the clause.

References

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