Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Grammar Encodes Space in Cogtse Rgyalrong


This paper presents the grammatical systems that are used for the concepts of space in the Cogtse dialect of Rgyalrong. Cogtse is noted for the way it lexicalizes a rich set of orientations (up-down, east-west, upstream-downstream) in terms of nominals, pronominals, verbs, and adverbials. Together with locative postpositions and the relator-noun construction, they constitute the three primary kinds of grammatical devices to incorporate notions of space. Despite the fact that Cogtse lexicalizes the intrinsic, relative, and absolute (based on the six orientations) frames of reference; no occurrence of ‘left’ and ‘right’ has been observed in the discourse data, spontaneous or preplanned. Speakers clearly prefer the absolute references that take the above-mentioned orientations as the basis. Finally, this paper illustrates from two socio-cultural perspectives how entrenched the orientation system is in Rgyalrong. The selection of semantically-dependent perfectivizer reveals the way Rgyalrong speakers conceptualize events in orientational terms; while the seating arrangement in the Rgyalrong house demonstrates that in assigning orientation terms to refer to various indoor spaces, cultural conceptions override natural geographical settings.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View