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Verb agreement in Proto-Tibeto-Burman

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009


My purpose in this paper is to outline a preliminary reconstruction scheme for the agreement morphology of the Proto-Tibeto-Burman (PTB) verb. I will deal with two separable issues: the provenence of the widespread suffixal agreement paradigm, and that of a less widely attested set of prefixes. The suffixal paradigm has, since the work of Bauman (1974, 1975, 1979, see also DeLancey 1980, 1981b) been recognized by some, but by no means all, Tibeto- Burmanists as being reconstructible for PTB. The prefixes, on the other hand, are as far as I know currently universally viewed as of secondary origin (although Bauman (1975) attributes a PTB provenence to one of the morphemes involved, he does not consider it to have been part of an original agreement system). I will show, however, that there is good evidence on which to base an argument that these also are of PTB provenence, and in fact very likely older than the suffixes.

Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 1989

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