Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor

Joan Baart

Abstract

This thesis presents a description of the system of pronominal clitics in the Logar dialect of Ormuri, an Iranian language of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Logar dialect is based in the Logar province of Afghanistan and is near to extinction. The thesis studies grammatical constraints on the occurrence of pronominal clitics in Ormuri sentences. It also investigates discourse factors that influence when a pronominal clitic is used to refer to an entity in the situation that is being talked about, rather than a noun, an independent pronoun, or zero anaphora. My analysis is based on a corpus consisting of fifty-five narrative texts told by Ormuri men and women in Afghanistan in the 1970s, collected and compiled separately by V. A. Efimov and Charles Kieffer. Each text was analysed with special attention to where, when, and how the pronominal clitics were used. Participant reference was analysed using the Default/Marked method described in Dooley and Levinsohn (2001).

Within a clause, Ormuri pronominal clitics may function as subject, object, possessor, or indirect object. A clitic functioning as possessor appears immediately after the possessed constituent. When functioning as subject, object, or indirect object, pronominal clitics are generally placed immediately after the first phrasal constituent of the clause. In some cases, a clitic may be co-referential with a sentence-initial noun phrase that functions as a subject or object argument. When, in this way, a pronominal clitic "doubles" a noun phrase occurring earlier in the clause, the clitic appears after the second, rather than the first, phrasal constituent of the sentence.

In present-tense clauses, an object argument can be encoded as a pronominal clitic, but a subject argument cannot be. In past-tense clauses, on the other hand, the subject argument of a transitive verb can be encoded as a pronominal clitic, but its object cannot be. This asymmetrical distribution of pronominal clitics in past- and present-tense clauses is a remnant of a more elaborate tense-based split-ergative system that must have existed in the past, and which still exists in the Kaniguram dialect in Pakistan.

Regarding the question as to when pronominal clitics (rather than nouns or other encodings) are selected to refer to participants in the discourse world, it was found that clitics are strongly preferred in contexts where they encode a reference to a participant that continues in the same grammatical role that it had in the previous clause or sentence.

The system of pronominal clitics in Logar Ormuri is similar to, albeit not identical to, the systems found in related languages, including Parachi, Persian, and Pashto.

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