Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0731-3500
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5907
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


It is widely recognized that Khamti Shan is unique among Tai languages in evidencing a basic (A)OV word order, quite likely due to extensive language contact with Tibeto-Burman languages. Much less recognized in Khamti Shan is that some functional objects take a postposition marker, revealing a striking, but not necessarily unexpected, resemblance to a Tibeto-Burman-like anti-ergative construction. The deictic ‘here’ grammaticalizes an anti-ergative function in which it acts as a marker for certain monotransitive ‘objects’ which are analyzed as pragmatically foregrounded referents in the information structure of the sentence.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Andrews, Avery D.
    2007[1985] The major functions of the noun phrase. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description, Vol.I: Clause Structure, 2nd edn, 132–223. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511619427.003
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511619427.003 [Google Scholar]
  2. Blansitt, Edward
    1988 Datives and allatives. In Michael Hammond , Edith Moravcsik & Jessica Wirth (eds.), Studies in Syntactic Typology [Typological Studies in Language 17], 173–191. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.17.14bla
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.17.14bla [Google Scholar]
  3. Chamberlain, James R.
    1975 A new look at the history and classification of the Tai languages. In Jimmy G. Harris & James R. Chamberlain (eds), Studies in Tai Linguistics in Honor of William J. Gedney, 49–66. Bangkok: Central Institute of English Language.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Cheng, Lisa L. & Rint Sybesma
    1998 On dummy objects and the transitivity of run. In Renée van Bezooijen & Rene Kager (eds), Linguistics in the Netherlands, Vol.15, 81–93. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Clark, Eve V.
    1978 Locationals: A study of ‘existential,’ ‘locative,’ and ‘possessive’ sentences. Universals of Human Language, Vol4: Syntax, 85–126. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Coupe, Alexander R.
    2017 On the diachronic origins of converbs in Tibeto-Burman and beyond. In Picus Ding & Jamin Pelkey (eds), Sociohistorical Linguistics in Southeast Asia: New Horizons for Tibeto-Burman Studies in Honor of David Bradley, 210–237. Leiden: Brill.10.1163/9789004350519_013
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004350519_013 [Google Scholar]
  7. Dalrymple, Mary & Irina Nikolaeva
    2011Objects and Information Structure. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511993473
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511993473 [Google Scholar]
  8. Diessel, Holger
    1999Demonstratives: Forms, Function, and Grammaticalization [Typological Studies in Language 42]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.42
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.42 [Google Scholar]
  9. 2006 Demonstratives, joint attention, and the emergence of grammar. Cognitive Linguistics17(4): 463–489. doi: 10.1515/COG.2006.015
    https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2006.015 [Google Scholar]
  10. Diller, Anthony
    1992 Tai languages in Assam: daughters or ghosts?In Carol J. Compton & John F. Hartmann (eds), Papers on Tai Languages, Linguistics and Literatures: In Honor of William J. Gedney on his 77th Birthday, 5–43. DeKallb, IL: Center for Southeast Asian Studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Diller, Anthony , Jerold A. Edmondson & Yongshian Luo
    (eds) 2008The Tai-Kadai Languages. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Dockum, Rikker
    2014 A tale of two Khamtis: Language classification in Southwestern Tai. SYNC 2014. Stony Brook University.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Dryer, Matthew S.
    2007 Clause types. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description, VolI: Clause Structure, 224–275. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511619427.004
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511619427.004 [Google Scholar]
  14. Edmondson, Jerold A.
    2008 Shan and other northern tier southwest Tai languages of Myanmar and China: Themes and variations. In Anthony Diller , Jerold A. Edmondson & Yongshian Luo (eds), The Tai-Kadai Languages, 184–206. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Edmondson, Jerold A. & David B. Solnit
    1997Comparative Kadai: The Tai branch. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics & The University of Texas at Arlington.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Enfield, Nicholas J.
    2007A Grammar of Lao. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110207538
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110207538 [Google Scholar]
  17. Frajzyngier, Zygmunt
    1991 The de dicto domain in language. In Elizabeth Traugott & Bernd Heine (eds), Approaches to Grammaticalization, Vol.1: Focus on Theoretical and Methodological Issues [Typological Studies in Language 19], 219–251. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.19.1.11fra
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.19.1.11fra [Google Scholar]
  18. Frawley, William
    1992Linguistic Semantics. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Genetti, Carol
    1991 From postposition to subordinator in Newari. In Elizabeth Traugott & Bernd Heine (eds), Approaches to Grammaticalization, Vol.2: Focus on Types of Grammatical Markers [Typological Studies in Language 19], 227–256. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.19.2.13gen
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.19.2.13gen [Google Scholar]
  20. 1997 Object relations and dative case in Dolakha Newari. Studies in Language21(1): 37–68. doi: 10.1075/sl.21.1.03gen
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.21.1.03gen [Google Scholar]
  21. Givón, Talmy
    1979On Understanding Grammar. New York NY: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Harris, Alice C. & Lyle Campbell
    1995Historical Syntax in Cross-linguistic Perspective. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511620553
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620553 [Google Scholar]
  23. Haspelmath, Martin
    1997From Space to Time: Temporal Adverbials in the World’s Languages. Munich: Lincom.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Heine, Bernd
    1990 The dative in Ik and Kanuri. In William Croft , Keith Denning & Suzanne Kemmer (eds), Studies in Typology and Diachrony [Typological Studies in Language 20], 129–149. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.20.09hei
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.20.09hei [Google Scholar]
  25. 1997aPossession: Cognitive Sources, Forces, and Gramaticalization. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511581908
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511581908 [Google Scholar]
  26. 1997bCognitive Foundations of Grammar. Oxford: OUP.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Heine, Bernd & Tania Kuteva
    2002World Lexicon of Grammaticalization. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511613463
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511613463 [Google Scholar]
  28. 2011 The areal dimension of grammaticalization. In Heiko Narrog & Bernd Heine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization, 291–301. Oxford: OUP. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199586783.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199586783.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  29. Inglis, Douglas
    2014 This here thing: Specifying morphemes an³, nai¹, and mai² in Tai Khamti reference-point constructions. PhD dissertation, University of Alberta.
  30. 2017 Myanmar-based Khamti Shan orthography. Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society10(1): xlvii–lxi.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Janssen, Theo A. J. M.
    1995 Deixis from a cognitive point of view. In Ellen Contini-Morava & Barbara Sussman Goldberg (eds), Meaning as Explanation: Advances in Linguistic Sign Theory, 245–270. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110907575.245
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110907575.245 [Google Scholar]
  32. Karapurkar, Pushpa
    1976Kokborok Grammar [CIIL Grammar Series 3]. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson
    1980Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Lambrecht, Knud
    1994Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representations of Discourse Referents. Cambridge: CUP. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511620607
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620607 [Google Scholar]
  35. Langacker, Ronald W.
    1993 Reference-point constructions. Cognitive Linguistics4(1): 1–38. doi: 10.1515/cogl.1993.4.1.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1993.4.1.1 [Google Scholar]
  36. 2009Investigations in Cognitive Grammar. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110214369
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110214369 [Google Scholar]
  37. LaPolla, Randy J.
    1992 Anti-ergative marking in Tibeto-Burman. LTBA15(1): 1–9.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. 1994 Parallel grammaticalizations in Tibeto-Burman languages: Evidence of Sapir’s ‘Drift’. LTBA17(1): 61–80.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. 2004 On nominal relational morphology in Tibeto-Burman. In Fung-min Hsu , Ying-chin Lin , Chun-chih Lee , Jackson, T. -S. , Hsiu-fung Yang & Dah-an Ho (eds.), Studies on Sino-Tibetan Languages: Papers in Honor of Professor Hwang-cherng Gong on his Seventieth Birthday, 23–74. Taipei: Academia Sinica.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Lichtenberk, Frantisek
    2002 The possessive-benefactive connection. Oceanic Linguistics41(2): 439–412. doi: 10.1353/ol.2002.0008
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2002.0008 [Google Scholar]
  41. Lyn, Shan Tieu
    2008 Complements in non-referential contexts: Comparing English and Chinese. Proceedings of the 2008 Annual Conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association, 1–15. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Matisoff, James A.
    1973The Grammar of Lahu [University of California Publications in Linguistics 75]. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Mel’čuk, Igor
    2001Communicative Organization in Natural Language: The Semantic-communicative Structure of Sentences [Studies in Language Companion Series 57]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/slcs.57
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.57 [Google Scholar]
  44. Morey, Stephen
    2006 Constituent order change in the Tai languages of Assam. Linguistic Typology10(3): 327–367. doi: 10.1515/LINGTY.2006.011
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2006.011 [Google Scholar]
  45. 2011 Transitivity in Cholim Tangsa. Studies in Language35(3): 676–701. doi: 10.1075/sl.35.3.07mor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.35.3.07mor [Google Scholar]
  46. Needham, Jack Francis
    1894Outline Grammar of the Khamti Language: As Spoken by the Khamtis Residing in the Neighborhood of Sadiya. Rangoon, Burma: Superintendent of Governement Printing.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Newman, John
    (ed.) 1996The Linguistics of Giving [Tyological Studies in Language 36]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. 1998Give: A Cognitive Linguistic Study. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Rice, Sally
    1992 Polysemy and lexical representation: The case of three English prepositions. Proceedings of the 14th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 14), 89–94.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. 2005 Moving for thinking: The pervasiveness of motion imagery in ideation and emotion. In Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk & Alina Kwiatkowska (eds), Imagery in Language: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Ronald W. Langacker [Łódź Studies in Language 10], 343–359. Berlin: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Rice, Sally & Kaori Kabata
    2007 Crosslinguistic grammaticalization patterns of the allative. Linguistic Typology11(3): 451–514. doi: 10.1515/LINGTY.2007.031
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.031 [Google Scholar]
  52. Sankoff, Gillian
    2001 Linguistic outcomes of language contact. In Peter Trudgill , J. Chambers & Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds), Handbook of Sociolinguistics, 638–668. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Simons, Gary F. , M. Paul Lewis & Charles D. Fennig
    (eds.) 2009Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 16th edn.Dallas, TX: SIL International. www.ethnologue.com/language/kht
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Timberlake, Alan
    1977 Reanalysis and actualization in syntactic change. In Charles N. Li (ed.), Mechanisms of Syntactic Change, 141–177. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Wang, Y.
    1992 Discourse grounding: The morphosyntax of Mandarin direct objects. Proceedings of the 19th conference of the linguistic association of Canada and the United States (LACUS), 143–152.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Watters, David E.
    1973 Clause patterns in Kham. In Austin Hale (ed.), Clause, Sentence, and Discourse Patterns in Selected Languages of Nepal, I: General Approach, 39–202. Norman, OK: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Weinreich, Uriel
    1968[1953]Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems. The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Wilaiwan, Khanittanan
    1986 Kamti Tai: from an SVO to an SOV Language. In B. H. Krishnamurti (ed.), South Asian Linguistics: Structure, Convergence, and Diglossia, 174–178. Delhi: Motilal Barnarsidas.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): anti-ergative; grammaticalization; language contact; Tai Khamti; Tibeto-Burman
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error