‘Pour out libation to all the gods!’
Exhaustive constructions in Northern Prinmi ritual speech
Ritual speech in many languages around the world shows grammar distinct from grammar used in daily speech. In Northern Prinmi ritual speech we found a significant use of two exhaustive constructions, one of which is not attested in daily speech; the other is only minimally attested. We argue that exhaustive constructions are strong expressions of the utmost degree which makes them particularly useful to the serious occasions in which ritual speech is used, such as when pronouncing blessings or invoking the gods. We also discuss two possible grammaticalization pathways, but find no conclusive evidence for either.
Keywords: Tibeto-Burman, Qiangic, Prinmi, Pumi, ritual speech, exhaustive construction, universal quantification, grammaticalization, dialectal variation, speaker-dependent variation
Published online: 28 August 2020
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