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Agency and Intentional Action in Kathmandu Newar

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

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https://doi.org/10.5070/H95022977Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license
Abstract

The paradigm of verbal morphology in Kathmandu Newar involves a binary opposition of two sets of forms, the so-called conjunct/disjunct system. However, in its distributional properties, the system indexes a complex functional interaction between semantic representations and pragmatic principles:

1) The construal of intentional action as a force dynamic with an appropriate mental representation,2) The deictic properties of speech acts and speech participant roles,3) An evidential principle requiring privileged access to internal states.

In addition, related concepts of agency and causation are indexed via the system of ergative/absolutive nominal case marking and causative morphology. Although there is a fair degree of semantic overlap between notions of causation, agency and intentional action, the formal and functional properties of the three domains (verbal inflectional morphology, causative morphology and the ergative/absolutive case marking) exhibit significant degrees of formal and functional autonomy.

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