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Theses

Motion Events in Nepali

Abstract : In this Thesis, I investigate the expression of ‘Motion events’ in Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Nepal by c. 12 million people, from a functional-typological approach. First, I analyze the lexical, grammatical, and constructional devices speakers of Nepali use to describe Motion events and their semantic elements, (e.g., Path, Manner, Figure, Ground), emphasizing the expression of Path. Secondly, I investigate the relationship between the form and the meaning, the lexicalization patterns, and finally, I examine how language-specific patterns influence the types of spatial information speakers of Nepali typically encode in discourse when describing Motion events. To investigate these issues, I rely on descriptive and narrative data. The descriptive data were collected with 18 participants (10 male and 8 female; average age: 35.2) for the ‘Put and Take’ corpus, and 17 participants (9 male and 8 female; average age: 33.4) for the ‘Trajectoire’ corpus in Spring 2016 and 2017 in Parbat and Kathmandu districts of Nepal. The narrative data were extracted from the Nepali National Corpus. First, the analysis of descriptive data reveals the diversity of verbs used by the Nepali speakers in the expression of caused Motion events and spontaneous Motion events showing respectively 85 and 54 different verbs in the main verb slot (e.g., raakhnu ‘to put’ in caused Motion events and jaanu ‘to go’ in spontaneous Motion events). In both events, there are great semantic distinctions between as well as among verbs. Semantically, verbs found in both events lexicalize either Path or Manner or, occasionally, some other aspects of Motion, and verbs encoding Path being more numerous than verbs lexicalizing Manner. In both event types, the lexical devices also involve adverbs (e.g., baahira ‘outside’, conveying Source and boundary crossing Path, and bhitra ‘inside’, showing Goal and boundary crossing Path). Both locative (-maa ‘in’ indicating Goal) and ablative (-baaTa ‘from’ conveying Source) case markers, and postpositions (e.g., -maathi ‘above’, -bhitra ‘inside’, and -tira ‘toward’ depicting Goal are the grammatical devices used in these events. Second, the study investigates the use of morphosyntactic loci for the expression of Path including both simplex and complex constructions in both event types. The data uncover different strategies displayed by the speakers in the expression of Path. Path can be expressed in one up to five loci in caused Motion events and in one up to six loci in spontaneous Motion events. Nevertheless, the number of loci where Path is expressed is much higher in narrative data ranging from one up to nine loci. When Path is expressed in one locus, it is either conveyed by the verb alone or by the case marker or the postposition, and when it is expressed in two or more than two loci, it is typically distributed between the verb and some grammatical devices or by combining lexical (verb, adverb) and grammatical (case markers, postpositions) devices. Third, the analysis of descriptive and narrative data shows that Nepali pervasively uses the Verb-framed pattern to encode Motion events, Path being expressed in such constructions in the main verb. Yet, the data also reveal the use of the reverse-framed pattern. Therefore, Nepali shows characteristics of a Verb-framed language as, for example, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish, and Japanese. Consequently, Manner of Motion tends to be either omitted or expressed explicitly in a conjunctive participle, an aspectual or an adverbial expression or in an ideophone. To a lesser extent, Manner is also lexicalized in the main verb.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 4:23:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 4:09:54 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, January 28, 2022 - 7:20:08 PM

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Krishna Parajuli. Motion Events in Nepali. Linguistics. Université de Lyon, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021LYSE2032⟩. ⟨tel-03406099⟩

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