image of The discourse functions of simple copulas in Dzongkha
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The marking on copular verbs in Tibetic languages is regarded as an exemplar of egophoricity, although the extent to which it has been grammaticalized varies between languages. Dzongkha, a southern Tibetic language, is somewhat atypical of the egophoric pattern in the sense that the basic opposition in copulas exhibits a mirative pattern, wherein the non-mirative (egophoric) copula occurs with all grammatical persons in declaratives and interrogatives, and the mirative (non-egophoric) occurs with the 3rd person and rarely with 1st and 2nd persons. The conversational data studied for this paper also show that the speaker need not take knowledge stances that bifurcate the world between objectively ‘old’ and ‘new’ knowledge and the attendant associations of knowledge with a particular grammatical person. Rather, the speaker’s representation of events is subjective, and dependent, in part, on the knowledge stances between speaker and respondent. What is in view in conversational interaction are the social goals of the conversation — assertions, face-saving strategies, and arriving at mutually shared knowledge — and the Dzongkha copulas are a manipulable linguistic resource in achieving these.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: egophoricity ; mirativity ; copula ; Tibetic ; conversational interaction ; evidentiality
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