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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Himalayan Linguistics is a free peer-reviewed web journal and archive devoted to the study of the languages of the Himalayas. It includes the series Languages and Peoples of the Eastern Himalayan Region, which incorporates the North East Indian Linguistics (NEIL) volumes.


Old Literary Tibetan scogs (CT sogs) “among others”: Etymology, constructions, and idiomatisation

The paper is the first attempt at reconstructing the word-family of scogs “among others” and detecting its manifold uses in OLT texts. The morpheme is traced back to a v4-stem of the verb √sʦog (CT v1 gsog), lit. “to cause to assemble”, itself derived from the verb root √ʦog by means of the causative prefix s-. After discussing its probable cognates and demonstrating historical links between them, I examine the ten constructions attested in the OLT corpus which contain the morpheme: finite clause, adverbial clause with past passive participle (I & II), post-head relative clause, R-dislocation, relative clause extraposition, pre-head relative clause, off-subject nominalisation, and idiomatic phrase (I & II). The paper sketches the lexicalisation path taken by the morpheme from a finite verb to an idiomatic phrase.

To be or not to be: On the Modern Tibetan auxiliary verb red in classical texts

In contrast to other Modern Tibetan auxiliaries, the linguistic history of the so-called ‘factual’ marker red cannot be traced. Two scholars have independently pointed to the occurrence of red in the 15th-centuryḥi rnam.thar. In all likelihood, this occurrence is the result of an editorial intervention. However, this text reveals an interesting distribution of five different verba dicendi, ingeniously used by the author of the text, to help understanding who talks to whom. Another suggested occurrence of red in the Padma thaŋ.yig is the result of an unfortunate misreading. On the other hand, some editions of the Gser.gyi phreŋ.ba do contain a single instance of red as a copula, which cannot be further analysed. The problematic status or red in all these texts demonstrates that in the reconstruction of the linguistic history of a language, the philological method cannot be set aside. Scribal errors or editorial interventions as well as unfortunate misreadings can only be detected when different editions are compared. In the appendix, I shall comment on the so far earliest use of ‘factual’ red in an 18th-century text, which is not widely known.