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Argument indexation in Hakhun Tangsa


This paper describes argument indexation in Hakhun Tangsa, a language variety spoken by one of the Tangsa subtribes called Hakhun across the Indo-Myanmar boarder on the Patkai mountain range. Most finite clauses in Hakhun carry an argument index on the verb complex, which code person and number of the argument they cross-index. There are two sets of argument indices in Hakhun Tangsa – one with a sonorous coda or no coda at all and the other with a stop coda. The choice between these two sets depends on the tense/aspect/modality marker in the verb complex. The typical argument indexation pattern in Hakhun Tangsa is hierarchical, i.e. the verb complex indexes the argument which is higher in person hierarchy irrespective of its grammatical relation. The verb complex also marks the argument configuration either as direct or inverse by choosing one set of tense/aspect/modality marker over another. Another indexation pattern found in this language is subject indexation, where the subject is indexed over the object. The choice between these two kinds of indexation patterns is conditioned by semantic/pragmatic factors, such as affectedness of the patient participant.

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