Year of publication
- Causes and effects of Substratum, Superstratum and Adstratum influence, with reference to Tibeto-Burman languages (2009)
- Language contact has become a major focus of inquiry in historical and typological linguistics in the last twenty years, spurred in a large part by the publication of Thomason & Kaufman (1988), which tried to make sense of a large amount of language contact data. They argued that there was a direct relationship between the degree or intensity of language contact and the amount and type of influence the contact would have on one or more of the languages involved. Essentially, the greater the degree of bilingualism, the greater the degree of contact influence (see also Thomason 2001); if the contact and bilingualism was minimal, then there might just be a few loanwords adapted to the borrowing language's phonology and grammatical system, but if the contact and bilingualism was of a greater degree there would be influence in the grammar and phonology of the affected language. As more linguists came to take language contact more seriously, they came to realize how common language contact phenomena are.
- Chinese as a topic-comment (not topic-prominent and not SVO) language (2009)
- Many linguists in China and the West have talked about Chinese as a topic-comment language, that is, a language in which the structure of the clause takes the form of a topic, about which something is to be said, and a comment, which is what is said about the topic, rather than being a language with a subject-predicate structure like that of English. Y. R. Chao (1968), for example, said that all Chinese clauses have topic-comment structure and there are no exceptions.
- Relative clause structures in the Rawang language (2009)
- This paper discusses the types of relative clause and noun complement structures found in the Rawang language, a Tibeto-Burman language of northern Myanmar, as well as their origin and uses, with data taken mainly from naturally occurring texts. Two types are preposed relative clauses, but in one the relative clause is nominalized, and in the other it is not. The non-nominalized form with a general head led to the development of nominalizing suffixes and one type of nominalized relative clause structure. As the nominalized form is a nominal itself, it can be postposed to the head in an appositional structure. There is also discussion of the Rawang structures in the context of Tibeto-Burman and the development of relative clause structures in the language family.
- Nominalization in Rawang (2009)
- This paper discusses the various forms, origins, and uses of nominalization in the Rawang (Rvwàng) language, a Tibeto-Burman language of northern Myanmar, with data taken mainly from naturally occurring texts.
- The copula and existential verbs in Qiang (2007)
- This paper discusses the copula and existential verb constructions in Qiang, a Tibeto-Burman language of northern Sichuan, China.
- Minority languages of China (2007)
- This chapter looks at language endangerment in the People's Republic of China, focusing on three of the main factors that influence language maintenance in China today: increased contact due to population movements and changes in the economy; the population policies of the government, particularly the identification of nationalities and languages; and the education system, particularly bilingual education. Finally, we give a brief account of the major efforts to document endangered languages.
- On describing word order (2006)
- One aspect that is always discussed in language descriptions, no matter how short they may be, is word order. Beginning with Greenberg 1963, it has been common to talk about word order using expressions such as "X is an SOV language", where "S" represents "subject", "0" represents "object", and "V" represents "verb". Statements such as this are based on an assumption of comparability, an assumption that all languages manifest the categories represented by "S", "0", and "V" (among others), and that word order in all languages can be described (and compared) using these categories.
- On grammatical relations as constraints on referent identification (2006)
- Based on a Relevance Theory-informed view of language development, this paper argues that grammatical relations are construction-specific conventionalizations (grammaticalizations) of implicatures which arise out of repeated patterns of reference to particular types of referents. Once conventionalized, these structures function to constrain the hearer's identification of referents in discourse. As they are construction-specific, and hence language-specific, there is no category "subject" across languages; different languages will either show this type of grammaticalization or not, and if they do, may show it or not in different constructions. Any cross-linguistic use of terms such as "subject" (and "S", as in "SOV") should then be avoided.
- Copula constructions in Rawang (2007)
- This paper discusses the various uses of the copula in the Rawang language, a Tibeto-Burman language of northern Myanmar, plus other types of copula like-constructions, with data taken mainly from naturally occurring texts.
- Sino-Tibetan languages (2006)
- The Sino-Tibetan (ST) language family includes the Sinitic languages (what for political reasons are known as Chinese ‘dialects’) and the 200 to 300 Tibeto-Burman (TB) languages. Geographically it stretches from Northeast India, Burma, Bangladesh, and northern Thailand in the southeast, throughout the Tibetan plateau to the north, across most of China and up to the Korean border in the northeast, and down to Taiwan and Hainan Island in the southeast. The family has come to be the way it is because of multiple migrations, often into areas where other languages were spoken (LaPolla, 2001).