New PhD: A Descriptive Grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo)

Randy LaPolla R.LaPolla at
Tue May 10 13:00:08 UTC 2011

Sorry for cross postings

From: Liberty Lidz <>
Subject: A Descriptive Grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo)

Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Liberty A. Lidz

Dissertation Title: A Descriptive Grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo)

Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation

Dissertation Director: Tony Woodbury

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is a descriptive grammar of Yongning Na (Mosuo), a
Tibeto-Burman language spoken in southwestern China. The theoretical
approaches taken are functional syntax and the discourse-based approach to
language description and documentation. The aim of this dissertation is to
describe the ways that the language's features and subsystems intersect 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; representation of time through
aspect, Aktionsart, adverbials, and context; and the Daba shamanic register.

Topics covered in the grammar include a description of the sociolinguistic
environment; the phonemic inventory; phonological processes; compounding;
word classes; the structure of noun phrases; the classifier system; types
of possession; methods for quantification; grammatical relations and
non-systemic 'ergative' and 'anti-ergative' marking; the structure of verb
phrases; the multiple existential verbs; the aspectual system;
evidentiality; grammaticalization; clause-combining; narrative texts; and
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