Free and not-so-free demonstratives in Jingpo


DOI: 10.1007/s10831-009-9048-x

Cite this article as:
Liu, H. & Gu, Y. J East Asian Linguist (2009) 18: 273. doi:10.1007/s10831-009-9048-x


In English demonstratives cannot co-occur with articles, so it is assumed that demonstratives should be treated as determiners (D). In some other languages, such as Spanish, postnominal demonstratives show no complementary distribution with articles; therefore, demonstratives are argued to be lexical heads projecting to lexical phrases (XP). In Jingpo, a Tibeto-Burman language, demonstratives which are inflected for number show relative freedom in syntactic distribution. Singular demonstratives can occur either prenominally, postnominally or appear twice to sandwich the head noun. Plural demonstratives can only occur postnominally. The relative freedom shown in the syntactic distribution of Jingpo demonstratives is accounted for in the present paper with the proposal that demonstratives in the right peripheral of the nominal phrase are D-type demonstratives and demonstratives adjacent to the head noun are A(djective)-type demonstratives. The analysis thus calls for a non-unitary treatment of demonstratives.


Demonstrative Jingpo D-type/A-type demonstratives 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South China Normal UniversityGuang ZhouChina
  2. 2.The Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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