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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nepali attention marker ni

  • Author(s): Yliniemi, Juha Sakari
  • et al.

This article is the first in-depth study of the Nepali discourse particle ni. The first part summarizes how ni has been treated in previous works on Nepali and shows how Östman’s (1981) analysis of the often-used English translation equivalent of ni, ‘you know’, gives a hint about the semantics of ni. Then, deriving data mainly from Narayan Wagle’s novel Palpasa café, which includes colloquial dialogues, but also from other sources, the paper illustrates the declarative, interrogative and imperative uses of ni. The common denominator between the various uses of ni is shown to be that the speaker brings something to the forefront of the addressee’s attention. The last section compares the concept of attention to the related concepts contrastive focus and mirative.

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