LSIEL 34: Rajbanshi Grammar

Référence: ISBN 9783895863233

Rajbanshi Grammar

and Interlinearized Text

Tikaram Poudel
Tribhuvan University

This is a study of Rajbanshi, an Indo-Aryan langauge of Assamese-Bengali sub group. The present study is based on the dialect of Rajbanshi spoken in the Eastern districts of Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari of Nepal. The focus is functional rather than theoretical.

Rajbanshi has six vowels and 29 consonants. Height and back-front of the tongue are responsible for making the vowel phonemes contrastive in this language. Stop, aspiration, affrication, friction, etc. are the major contrastive features for consonants. Rajbanshi favors simple syllabification, hence, consonant clusters are quite rare.

Nouns inflect for number, gender, case and classifiers. Both adjectives and adverbs are formed from nouns and verbs. Verbs inflect for tense, aspect, modality and negation. The negation puzzle of Assamese Bengali group is also found in Rajbanshi. Compounding and noun incorporation are quite common verbal phenomena in this language. Like other NIA languages, Rajbanshi makes use of compound verbs. They have the aspectual, attitudinal and modal functions in Rajbanshi discourse. The compound verbs are marked categories in the language. The author suggests four ways of identifying compound verbs in this language. They are semantic bleaching of the vector verbs, test of negation, reduplication test and non-finiteness of the first verb. There are restrictions of transitivity, volitionality and the forms of main verbs on the selections of vectors. The process of noun incorporation is a device of changing a nominal category to a verbal one using highly grammaticalized verbs called light verbs. Rajbanshi is a nominative-accusative SOV language. It forms causativization lexically, morphologically and periphrastically.

The study concludes with a sample text with interlinearized and free translation.

ISBN 9783895863233. LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 34. 132pp. 2006.

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