The grammaticalization of clausal nominalizers in Burmese

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This paper is concerned with the grammaticalization of clausal nominalizers in two different but closely-related forms of Burmese, Colloquial Burmese and Literary Burmese. A contrastive overview of the morphosyntactic properties of the nominalizers<i>thii </i>and <i>mii </i>of Literary Burmese and their Colloquial Burmese counterparts<i>te </i>and <i>me</i>, together with the application of a number of tests for the identification of nominalized constructions, reveal that grammaticalization is more advanced in the colloquial language than in the literary variety: <i>te </i>and <i>me </i>have lost their nominal specifications and been reanalysed as grammatical elements of a different categorial type, instantiating verb-related mood and realis–irrealis distinctions. The comparison of the system of nominalization in the two complementary varieties of Burmese allows for insights into the evolution, spread and reinterpretation of nominalization structures within a language.


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