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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Directional Pre-verbal Particles in Hakha Lai

  • Author(s): VanBik, Kenneth
  • et al.

Hakha Lai is mainly spoken in Hakha and Thantlang areas, and their  vicinities in Chin State, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).  It is also spoken in the adjacent areas of India and Bangladesh. Lai speakers are about 100,000 people. Lai is also used extensively as a second language by speakers of other Chin languages in the Chin Hills.

The data in H. Lai are transcribed in both standard orthography as well as a phonemic orthography developed and used when the first author was a consultant for a two-semesters long field method class (Fall 1997 – Spring 1998) conducted by Prof. James A. Matisoff at UC Berkeley.

H. Lai has five pairs of directional pre-verbal particles which describe the “where” of the participants and the “how” of the actions involved. This paper analyzes these deictic phenomena in terms of how the interlocutors behave in relation to position, distance, and movement, their diachronic origins, and their other functions.

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