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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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ḥdug as a testimonial marker in Classical and Old Tibetan

DeLancey (1992) and Hongladarom (1994) suppose that ḥdug means 'sit' in Old and Classical Tibetan, and that these languages entirely lack the evidential use of this morpheme well known in 'Lhasa' Tibetan. In contrast, Denwood (1999) sees the Classical Tibetan use of ḥdug as broadly in keeping with its function in 'Lhasa' Tibetan. An examination of examples from Old and Classical Tibetan suggests that evidential uses of ḥdug emerged late in the Old Tibetan period and that the meaning 'sit' is idiosyncratic to the Mdzaṅs blun.

Apatani phonology and lexicon, with a special focus on tone

Despite being one of the most extensively researched of Eastern Himalayan languages, the basic morphological and phonological-prosodic properties of Apatani (Tibeto-Burman > Tani > Western) have not yet been adequately described. This article attempts such a description, focusing especially on interactions between segmental-syllabic phonology and tone in Apatani. We highlight three features in particular – vowel length, nasality and a glottal stop – which contribute to contrastively-weighted syllables in Apatani, which are consistently under-represented in previous descriptions of Apatani, and in absence of which tone in Apatani cannot be effectively analysed. We conclude that Apatani has two “underlying”, lexically-specified tone categories H and L, whose interaction with word structure and syllable weight produce a maximum of three “surface” pitch contours – level, falling and rising – on disyllabic phonological words. Two appendices provide a set of diagnostic procedures for the discovery and description of Apatani tone categories, as well as an Apatani lexicon of approximately one thousand entries.