Ambiguity-Driven Differential Object Marking in Yongren Lolo

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-331
Journal / PublicationLingua
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


Yongren Lolo (as well as a portion of related Tibeto-Burman languages) exhibits a type of DOM in a wide range of clause types strictly based on ambiguity. Devices such as morphological case-marking and word order fixations are taken out of the toolbox only if the assignment of semantic roles is not implied by the semantics of the predicate and its arguments. ADDOM-languages (Ambiguity-Driven Differential Object Marking languages) such as Yongren Lolo resist any rigid alignment pattern of semantic roles. Earlier attempts by linguists to sketch Lolo-style syntax in terms of the grammatical relations of primary object and 'anti-ergative' marking are shown to fail for various reasons. The characteristic feature of ADDOM-languages seems to be their ability to strike a special deal between two conflicting constraints that operate at a deeper level of syntactic organization: Economy and Markedness. Based on the interplay of these constraints, I define a wide range of theoretic ADDOM-structures and position Yongren Lolo within this typology. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Ambiguity, China, Differential Object Marking, Lolo, Yi