A Grammar of Mongsen Ao
Walter de Gruyter, 27 août 2008 - 549 pages
A Grammar of Mongsen Ao, the result of the author’s fieldwork over a ten-year period, presents the first comprehensive grammatical description of a language spoken in Nagaland, north-east India. The languages of this region remain under-documented for a number of historical reasons. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the widespread cultural practice of head-hunting discouraged outsiders from entering the Naga Hills. Shortly after Indian independence in 1947, an armed rebellion by Naga separatists and a government policy of restricting access to the troubled area ensured that Nagaland remained a difficult place to conduct research. In this context, A Grammar of Mongsen Ao offers valuable new insights into the structure of a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in a linguistically little-known region of the world.
The grammatical analysis documents all the functional domains of the language and includes four glossed and translated texts, the latter being of interest to anthropologists studying folklore. Mongsen Ao is a highly agglutinating, mostly suffixing language with predominantly dependent-marking characteristics. Its grammar demonstrates a number of typologically interesting features that are described in detail in the book. Among these is an unusual case marking system in which grammatical marking is motivated by semantic and pragmatic factors, and a rich verbal morphology that produces elaborate sequences of agglutinative suffixes. Grammaticalisation processes are also discussed where relevant, thereby extending the appeal of the book to linguists with interests in grammaticalisation theory.
This book will be of value to any linguist seeking to clarify genetic relationships within the Tibeto-Burman family, and it will serve more broadly as a reference grammar for typologists interested in the typological features of a Tibeto-Burman language of north-east India.
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Chapter 8 Verbs and verbal morphology
Chapter 9 Verbless copula and existential clauses
Chapter 10 Imperatives
Chapter 11 Clause combining