By Liberty A. Lidz
This dissertation is a descriptive grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo), a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in southwestern China. The theoretical methods taken are practical syntax and the discourse-based method of language description and
documentation. the purpose of this dissertation is to explain the ways in which the language’s
features and subsystems intersect to make Na a different entity: analycity; 0 anaphora;
OV observe order; topic/comment details constitution; a five-part evidential process; a
conjunct/disjunct-like process that intersects with evidentiality and verbal semantics;
prolific grammaticalization; overlap among nominalization and relativization and
associated buildings; illustration of time via point, Aktionsart, adverbials, and
context; and the Daba shamanic register.
Topics coated within the grammar contain an outline of the sociolinguistic
environment; the phonemic stock; phonological strategies; compounding; word
classes; the constitution of noun words; the classifier approach; forms of ownership; methods
for quantification; grammatical kinfolk and non-systemic ‘ergative’ and ‘anti-ergative’
marking; the constitution of verb words; the a number of existential verbs; the aspectual
system; evidentiality; grammaticalization; clause-combining; narrative texts; and lexicon.
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Extra resources for A Descriptive Grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo)
The Lugu Lake area is in an alpine valley in the mountains, while Ninglang and parts of Guabie are significantly more temperate, permitting a wider range of crops to be grown. Pork provides a key source of nutrition, and several hundred pound pigs are a common sight in homesteads. Chickens, sheep, and goats are also raised, as well as oxen for ploughing, and Na tend to be extremely competent horse-riders, with a small-sized horse breed preferred for their stamina in carrying heavy loads of goods over long distances at high altitude.
4). These inventories are supported with minimal pairs/triplets to illustrate contrastive distribution. 1 SYLLABLE STRUCTURE Na has a maximum syllable of CGVT, where C is a consonant, G is a glide, V is a vowel, and T is tone. Syllables with CVT and CGVT structures are both quite common. 6). The loss of Proto Lolo-Burmese prenasals is a salient feature of Yongning Na. Pre-nasals also are lost in Lahu (Matisoff 1973:2), but are retained in Weixi Naxi (Fu 1940/1941:407),1 Lijiang Naxi (He and Jiang 1985:5), and Yi (Fu 1997:67).
Improvements in quality of living, including increased access to education for youth, new infrastructure reaching previously remote areas, new media, and novel socioeconomic opportunities, are precipitating language shift from minority languages to Mandarin. For the Na, large-scale tourism has been an additional factor. This tourism is fueled by Han Chinese curiosity about the Na, whose way of life is completely antithetical to the Confucian worldview. The aim of this dissertation is to describe the ways that the language’s features and subsystems interact to make Na a unique entity: analycity; zero anaphora; OV word order; topic/comment information structure; a five-part evidential system; a conjunct/disjunct-like system that intersects with evidentiality and verbal semantics; prolific grammaticalization; overlap between nominalization and relativization and associated structures; postpositional semantic role markers; representation of time through tense, aspect, Aktionsarten, adverbials, and discourse context; and the Daba shamanic register.
A Descriptive Grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo) by Liberty A. Lidz