Karen Sgaw Morphology
Expressing grammatical relations in Karen Sgaw
Anne van Schie
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The aim of this study is to answer the research question “what is the nature of the Karen Sgaw morphology?”. Karen Sgaw is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by around 2 million people in the border regions of Burma and Thailand. The language is fairly undescribed and the available sources contradict each other on the topic of morphosyntax. The current study provides a literature overview of the Karen Sgaw morphology, as well as a field work study of the morphosyntax. Data is collected by recording the speech of a native speaker of Karen Sgaw. Analysis of the data shows that Karen Sgaw appears to be a language that heavily relies on combining lexical roots to express grammatical relations. The main morphological process is compounding, of which the occurrent mechanisms of reduplication and serialization may be subtypes. Some elements have grammaticalized into different stages to serve an almost inflectional or derivational function. The most striking finding is what seems to be noun serialization, which is still barely documented as a linguistic phenomenon.
ISBN 9783862889853. LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 90. 94pp. 2019.