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War, Badaplin (1992) The personal pronouns and their related clitics in six Khasi dialects: A grammatical and sociolinguistic study. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis, as the title suggests, is divided into two parts: a grammar section and a sociolinguistic section. The grammar section comprises chapters II, III and IV and the sociolinguistic section chapters V, VI and VII. Chapter I provides general information on the language and its people, the system of notation used to present the linguistic data, the issues that are raised in the thesis, the methodology employed and the criteria upon which the questionnaire and the fieldwork are based. Chapter VIII, the general conclusion, summarizes the findings of the grammar and sociolinguistic sections. The main issues that are raised in the grammar section are two. The first concerns the syntactic status of a set of clitics which all share the same property of encoding the categories of person, number and gender. In prenominal position acting as 'articles', they convey the gender and number of the noun, and as 'agreement markers' show the agreement of modifiers with the head in the noun phrase. In combination with the verb they either act as agreement markers showing grammatical agreement between the lexical subject NP and the verb or as pronominals, that is to say they are referential pronouns that fulfil argument functions. The other issue that is raised in this section is the functions and distribution of the independent pronouns by comparison with those of the pronominal clitics. Chapter II deals with these issues in the standard dialect, chapter III examines them in the five regional dialects and chapter IV deals with their comparison across the dialects. The two main differences that will be seen between the dialect groups concern: (a) the gender system as encoded in the prenominal clitics, the peripheral and the. transitional dialects having a basic three-gender system whereas the central dialects have a basic two-gender system (innovations on the part of the central dialects in developing a polite or honorific gender for pragmatic purposes and the influence of these dialects on the other groups are also considered); (b) in the central dialects the clitics have a wide range of functions in that they fulfil all argument functions whereas the independent pronouns fulfil purely discourse functions. In the peripheral dialects on the other hand, the clitics have a very restricted range of functions that of a subject in continued discourse and of possessor in a construction without preposition. This chapter also studies the forms of the pronouns, the clitics being shown to be clearly cognate across the dialects and the independent pronouns to have developed from the clitics independently in the individual dialects. The sociolinguistic section deals with the informants' reported use of the second person pronouns and third person constructions in addressing, and of the different articles with appropriate nominals in referring to, kin and non-kin members of the community. Chapter V presents some theoretical considerations regarding the Address variable and the Reference variable as part of the pronominal strategies adopted in various languages. The variants of the Address and the Reference variables that are reportedly used by speakers in the Khasi dialects selected for analysis are also dealt with here. Chapter VI presents an analysis of the informants' reponses to a questionnaire regarding their use of the variants of the Address and the Reference variables. Chapter VII compares the informants' reported use of Address and of Reference across the dialects. This chapter also looks at the diachronic development of the second person 'polite' pronoun which has led to changes in the pronominal paradigm in the central dialects. It also examines the development of the honorific article as part of the variants of Reference. Here too the claim is that the central dialects are responsible for the innovations that have taken place in the way the second person pronouns and the honorific article are used.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:05

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