Discourse Markers in Dardic Languages : Palula ba and ta in a comparative perspective
Abstract: The present study investigates discourse markers in Dardic languages (Indo-Aryan; Pakistan), focusing on the discourse markers ba and ta in Palula in comparison with other languages of the region, particularly Dameli in which two markers with the same form and similar functions have been observed. The results showed that Palula ba functions as a topic-marker, in addition to other functions, whereas ta only signals subsequence, except in an adversative construction ta... ba. In Dameli, both ba and ta function as topic-markers, in addition to other functions such as ta marking subsequence, and the ta... ba construction functions similarly to Palula. Interestingly, Kalasha and Gawri showed some similarities, as both have a topic-marker surfacing as ta and tä respectively, which can be used in the adversative constructions ta... o and tä... i respectively, both of which have another marker as the second element. No other language in the sample was found to have a construction similar to the ta... ba construction nor a marker similar in form and function to ba, but all have a subsequence marker resembling ta. These results indicated that the Palula markers ba and ta are part of an areal phenomenon encompassing at least the Chitral, Panjkora and Swat valleys, where Palula originally only had the Shina subsequence marker and later adapted the Dameli system into the language.
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