Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone.: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 300
fax: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 333
A grammar of Yakkha
The aim of this project is the linguistic documentation and description of Yakkha, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in East Nepal.
Yakkha belongs to the Eastern branch of the Kiranti languages, its closest relative being Belhare. According to the last census in 2001, there are 14.000 speakers, but the number seems optimistic, and Yakkha is not passed on to the next generation. The language is characterized by complex morphophonology and an intricate verbal person marking system with various scenario-based alignment splits. The basic word order is SOV, and phrases are typically head-final. Another area of special interest is the highly multifunctional system of complex predication in Yakkha, covering diverse semantic domains, such as spatial orientation, temporal specification and argument structure.
The goal of the project is threefold: to produce a grammar, a dictionary and an annotated corpus of recorded texts of various genres. The grammar focuses on morphosyntactic topics such as complex predication, argument structure, clause linkage and grammatical relations.