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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Space in Lisu

  • Author(s): Bradley, David
  • et al.

Space is categorized and expressed in Lisu in all areas of structure, both nominal and verbal. Within the nominal system, there is a complex deictic system which differs between dialects and which has distinct fused locative forms, as well as a large set of spatial frame nominals, some derived from body parts, as well as directional suffixes and a spatial marker suffix; the ways in which these suffixes combine with nouns and noun stems differ slightly between dialects. There are also some general nouns for location in space and a spatial numeral classifier. Some of these nominal spatial forms are metaphorically extended to temporal, comparative and more lexicalized uses. Within the verbal system, directions of motion and types of location are expressed by lexically distinct verbs. As in most Ngwi languages related to Lisu, there is a morphosyntactically distinct set of dimensional extent stative verbs expressing spatial extension as well as temporal extent. There is also a set of posthead directional serial verbs. Finally, there are spatial adverbial forms productively based on the dimensional extent verbs.

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