Deborah Kim

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Robert W. Fried


Sarikoli [srh] is an Iranian language spoken in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County in northwest China. This thesis describes three types of subordinate clauses in Sarikoli: 1) relative clauses, 2) complement clauses, and 3) adverbial clauses. The relative clause and complement clause structures are briefly compared with those found in related Iranian and Pamir languages (Persian, Tajik, Shughni, Rushani, and Wakhi).

Sarikoli relative clauses are placed before the head noun. Common nouns, proper nouns, demonstratives, and genetic terms may be relativized, but pronouns are generally not relativized. A wide range of syntactic functions are allowed for the common argument in both the relative clause and the matrix clause, including A, S, O, and oblique roles. The two main relativizers used for Sarikoli RCs are =dʒɛndʒ and =itʃuz. The =dʒɛndʒ relativizer is used for finite RCs, while =itʃuz is used for non-finite clauses (including future events with an infinitive verb). Other ways of forming RCs include headless RCs, unmarked RCs, and using the genitive marker -an.

Sarikoli has at least two types of finite complement clauses and two types of non-finite complementation strategies. In the nominalized complement, the nominalizer -i attaches to the infinitive stem of the verb. The infinitival complement also contains the infinitive stem of the verb, but is unmarked. The pre-verbal finite complement clause is unmarked and contains a finite verb stem and a subject-verb agreement clitic. The post-verbal finite complement clause is placed after the matrix clause verb; it is introduced by the subordinating conjunction iko and contains a finite stem of the verb and a subject-verb agreement clitic.

Adverbial clauses are marked by various subordinating morphemes, including tsa 'if', qati 'with', alo 'when', avon 'for', az 'from', and the dative marker =ir, which generally occur at the end of the adverbial clause. Most types of adverbial clauses are non-finite, containing verbs in their infinitive stem and lacking subject-verb agreement clitics. Like regular adverbs, adverbial clauses usually precede the entire matrix clause or immediately follow the subject. Sarikoli has structurally-distinctive adverbial clause constructions for expressing time, reason, purpose, condition, concession, means and simultaneity, and substitution.

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