The expression of knowledge in Ersu

Zhang, Sihong (2014) The expression of knowledge in Ersu. In: Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y., and Dixon, R.M.W., (eds.) The Grammar of Knowledge: a cross-linguistic typology. Explorations in Linguistic Typology, 7 . Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 132-147.

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[Extract] Ersu is an endangered language (Bradley 1997; Moseley 2010) with about 25,000 speakers (Wang 2010: 6). According to Sun (1982, 1983) and Liu (1983: 462-500), the language has three dialects-the eastern dialect Ersu, the central dialect Tosu, and the western dialect Lizu. Sun (1982, 1983) hypothesized that Ersu with the three dialects should be classified as a subgroup of the southern Qiangic branch in the Tibeto-Burman language family, though Chirkova's recent empirical studies imply that 'the Qiangic hypothesis remains problematic' (Chirkova 2012).

The three dialects are all spoken in the seven counties in the south-west part of Sichuan Province, China. More specifically, the eastern dialect, Ersu, is spoken in the counties of Ganluo, Yuexi, Hanyuan, and Shimian; the central dialect, Tosu, is spoken in the county of Mianning, and the western dialect, Lizu, is spoken in the counties of Mianning, Muli, and Jiulong (Sun 1982, 1983; Liu 1983: 462-500; Wang 2010: 3).

In this chapter, the name, 'Ersu,' will refer to the eastern dialect rather than the language as an entirety. The language is a typical 'topic-comment' (Huang 2004: 248-63) and AOV/SV language with a strong isolating tendency. Like Yongning Na (Lidz 2007), constituent order, lexical choice, and discourse context cooperate to express grammatical relations. Gender and number agreement is not found in predicates and ellipsis is frequently observed, especially in narratives or long conversations.

Item ID: 32373
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-870131-6
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University (JCU), Cairns Institute, James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: ARC Dicovery Project DP110103207 "The grammar of knowledge: a cross-linguistic view of evidentiality and epistemological expressions"
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2014 05:44
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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