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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.

Himalayan Linguistics

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An Analysis of Syntax and Prosody Interactions in a Dolakhā Newar Rendition of The Mahābhārata

This study explores the relationship of prosodic and syntactic structure in a Dolakhā Newār

rendering of a portion of The MahΩbhΩrata. Six intonation types are identified and described. The strongest syntax/prosody correlation is between final intonation and finite verb morphology. Finite clauses may be found with continuing intonation; in these cases the speaker manipulates the syntactic and prosodic levels for functional reasons. Prosodic units combine to form larger structures which we call prosodic sentences. These are defined as prosodic marcro-units optionally containing any number of continuing intonation units and ending with final intonation. Prosodic sentences may be internally complex and exhibit embedding. Boundaries between narrative sentences are produced by the convergence of finality at the syntactic and prosodic levels.