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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The stem alternation in Rengmitca

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It is well-known that South Central Tibeto-Burman (=Kuki-Chin) languages may exhibit a morphosyntactically-conditioned verbal stem alternation. This paper provides an exhaustive account of the stem alternation in Rengmitca, a highly endangered SC language of Bangladesh, based on a naturalistic text corpus. Compared to systems present in other languages, Rengmitca’s stem alternation is formally quite limited. The distribution of stem alternants involves similar parameters to those seen for other SC languages, but there are some deviations from more commonly attested patterns, as well. The finding that the stem alternation is present in Rengmitca is noteworthy because evidence for it in the Southwestern SC subgroup up to this point has only been minimal. The paper also considers additional issues in the diachrony of the stem alternation in SC.

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