Untersuchungen zur Sprache des Dorfes Marpha im Oberen Kali-Gandaki-Tal/Nepal
The Thakali language belongs - together with Tamang, Gurung, Chantel and Manang - to the Tamangic subgroup of the Himalayan branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. It is spoken by approx. 4500 people along the river Kali-Gandaki in NW-Nepal.
This grammar describes the variant of the village of Marpha, which holds a special place among the dialects of this language. Whereas in most of the other Thakali villages native language use seems to be vigorous, among the ca. 1000 inhabitants of Marpha Thakali is nowadays used by only the middle and older generations, being gradually replaced by Nepali, the only language of education.
The phonology of the language features a word-level tone system, which is in accordance with most of the other Tamangic languages, as far as the interaction of voice-register and contour yields a four-way tonal contrast, but the articulatory basis in Marpha is quite considerably different even from that of the other Thakali dialects. The morphology is basically agglutinative, with a very limited degree of fusion. On the syntactic level, Marphatan Thakali shows SOV-order of constituents, ample use of non-finite verb forms (converbs and verbal nouns) to form subordinate structures and (together with other Tibeto-Burman languages of Nepal, e.g. Newari) a special type of morphological split-ergativity, which seems to be governed mainly by discourse-pragmatic factors.
This description of the grammatical facts of the language is accompanied by a large number of examples, taken both from texts and from field-session elicitations, which are constantly provided with an interlinear morph-by-morph gloss and a free translation. The volume is concluded by a selection of seventeen short texts and two glossaries (Thakali-German and German-Thakali) with comparative and etymological remarks. [written in German]
ISBN 9783895860980. LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 02. 450pp. 1997.