A Grammar of Lalo
Abstract: The thesis is a descriptive reference grammar of the present-day Lalo language as spoken in Longjie township in Yunnan province of Southwestern China. It constitutes a presentation of empirical data collected during field work in Longjie township, and includes as survey of the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language. A word-list as well as text samples are appended to the thesis. Lalo is genetically classified as a Burmese-Yipho language (and in extension a Sino-Tibetan language), more specifically a Central Yipho language, i.e., it belongs to the same subgroup of Yipho as the more well-known languages Lahu and Lisu. It is spoken in Yunnan by approximately 500 000 speakers. Lalo may be subdivided into the West mountain and East mountain subdialects, and the variety treated in the thesis belongs to the West mountain sub-dialect.The language is still the everyday vehicle of communcation in Lalo areas, but Chinese influence is growing rapidly. The Lalo phonology is based on the syllable, which has tonal and phonation type distinctions. The language is rich in initials, and the vowel system is not insignificant in size. Consonant combinations do not occur, nor may any syllable end in a consonant. Morphemes are usually monosyllabic, but words, especially nouns, are mostly disyllabic. The basic word order is SOV, nouns are counted through classifiers, verbs and adjectives are chained into complex predicates, propositions are interrogated through juxtaposition of the verb or adjective and a negated copy of it etc. All of these traits may be considered typical for Yipho-languages, and many of them are typical for the linguistic area as a whole. The thesis exclusively deals with the present-day language of one specific variant of the Lalo language, but the data has been presented so as to facilitate comparative work. The thesis is intended to present the language rather than the applicability of any given syntactic theory, and usually a quite traditional terminology is used.
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