Special Issue on the Grammatical Encoding of Space

Nathaniel Sims, Carol Genetti, Nathaniel Sims, Carol Genetti
Himalayan Linguistics   unpublished
Like other languages of the Western Sichuan linguistic area, the Yonghe variety of Qiang has robust grammatical systems for spatial concepts. Within the noun phrase, there are specialized locative casemarkers for different degrees of distance of the object being located. There is also a set of locational nouns, which are structured based on an intrinsic frame of reference, at least for some speakers. In the verb phrase, there is a system of five existential verbs, four of which have locational
more » ... ch have locational semantics; choice of existential depends on containment and attachment, then secondarily on the animacy of the referent being located. There is also a set of eight directional prefixes. These have different discourse frequencies, reflecting different levels of prefix-verb collocation. In addition, the prefixes primarily occur in perfective clauses and imperatives; however, they are optional when an adverbial phrase is also used. Thus, the system approximates derivation rather than inflection. These patterns of distribution, together with comparative data from other Western Sichuan languages, suggest a grammaticalization pathway from directional prefix to perfective to imperative. .