[Lingtyp] Discourse connectives that do not occur at clause edges

Chris Donlay chrisdonlay at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 9 19:01:11 UTC 2021

Khatso (Tibeto-Burman/Ngwi), a tonal SOV language spoken inYunnan, China, has a number of particles that pragmatically connect differentclauses; most of them are phrase final. However, there are a couple thatoperate differently.

One, la35 (high rising tone) occurs after the verb but cannotbe phrase final; it must be followed by a small subset of phrase-finalparticles, many of them emphatic. The most common function of la35 in discourseis to contrast the current clause with preceding information, but sometimes itserves to add information (such as the reason or effect of the earlier content)or to signal that its clause is a wrap-up observation. Discourse context disambiguatesthe meaning. Interestingly, la35 may be omitted in natural speech, but its tonethen replaces that of an adjacent syllable.

Another, tɤ44 links two clauses – though because of frequentzero anaphora a clause may be a bare verb. Typically, in discourse each clausesits in its own IU, but linking with tɤ44 requires that both clauses occupy thesame IU. So tɤ44 always occurs phrase medially. The pragmatic relationshipbetween the two clauses varies depending on what type of verbs are used and theoverall discourse context. It can be purposive, causal, resultative or temporal.

Also, the particle tɕo35 ‘then, so, thus’ (related to or originatingfrom Mandarin’s jiu 就) alsopragmatically connects clauses, often with a temporal or resultative sense. Itscanonical position is before the verb, but in actual practice can be found inalmost every position, including phrase finally. It is also used alone as a discoursefiller. As a result, it’s not uncommon for there to be multiple instances in asingle clause.

I can send more details if this is the kind of thing you’re lookingfor.


    On Monday, August 9, 2021, 12:02:37 AM PDT, Ponrawee Prasertsom <ponrawee.pra at gmail.com> wrote:  
 Dear all,
Does anyone know of language(s) with a discourse connective (roughly defined as any word that relates two event arguments expressed as clauses) that
1. Has a dedicated (fixed) position in the clause2. Does NOT occur clause-initial or -finally
The example I have in mind is Thai /kɔ̂ɔ/ and Lao /kaø/, which always occur after the subject. I'm also wondering how much this is specific to Southwestern Tai (or Kra-Dai more generally). 
I appreciate every help. Thank you all in advance.
Best regards,

Ponrawee Prasertsom

Graduate studentDepartment of LinguisticsChulalongkorn University-- 
Ponrawee Prasertsom

Postgraduate studentMSc Evolution of Language and CognitionCentre for Language EvolutionSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language SciencesUniversity of Edinburgh
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