THE STRUCTURE OF THE SIMPLE CLAUSE IN NEPALI
Ph.D. Dissertation, 1982
(1) Nepali is a SOV language; it was postpositions; modifiers including
genitives precede modified; relational markers follow property markers;
word order in statements and questions is invariant; and the order of
multiple duplicate questions is strictly SOV. The concepts of new/unknown
vs. old information explain variant orders like OSV. The former concept
is termed focus. Focus is normally placed next to the verb. Q-words have
focus, which explains why a q-word and the corresponding response have
the same position. (2) The morphological processes of causativization
and passivization augment and decrease, respectively, the valency of both
transitive and intransitive verbs. Causatives are either affixal, periphrastic
simple, or periphrastic double. Two semantic parameters (manipulative-directive
and direct-mediated causation) distinguish them; affixal causatives imply
manipulative and direct causation; periphrastic simple causatives imply
directive and direct causation; whereas periphrastic double causatives
imply directive and mediated causation. The passive formation in Nepali
has a very general distribution, and has no effect on the word order.
However, some situations must be described by the passive only, and others
by active. There are also restrictions on the specification of the agent.
(3) Grammatical relations--subject, DO and IO--and semantic relations--agent,
patient, theme, force, and recipient--are necessary to specify the arguments
in a clause. The former is governed by verb-agreement, word order, and
case marking; the latter is defined by the paired features source-goal,
cause-effect, and controller-controlled. (4) The markers that often realize
these relations are /-le/ and /-lai/. /-le/ marks the entity with the
feature [+ cause]. Thus, force, instrument, and agent all have /-le/.
However, /-le/- marking with agents is influenced by factors like transitivity,
(+OR-) human, aspect, and modality. In one-object sentences, animate objects
are marked with /-lai/. But processes like animatization and deanimatization
produce converse situations. In two-object sentences only the IO is marked
with /-lai/. Experiencers also have /-lai/. This reveals a dichotomy of
action-prominence vs. event-prominence and the concept of directionality
in Nepali at the discourse level. This phenomenon neatly ties in with
the peculiarities of the passive and happen- vs. do clauses.
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