Person-sensitive TAME marking in Galo
Historical origins and functional motivation
Scott DeLancey’s analysis of person-sensitive TAME marking in Lhasa Tibetan – “a.k.a. conjunct-disjunct marking” or “egophoricity” – has stimulated considerable discussion and debate, particularly as previously little-known languages of the Tibeto-Burman area, as well as outside it, have come to be described, and a wider range of functional factors have been taken into account. This chapter is intended as a contribution to this discussion, by presenting the first detailed analysis of person-sensitive TAME marking in a language of the Tani subgroup of Tibeto-Burman, namely Galo. Like Tournadre (2008), I find that person-sensitive TAME marking in Galo is not a grammaticalized index of person (“agreement”) nor of cross-clause subject continuity, but is instead a semantic index of an assertor’s knowledge state. Unlike in more westerly Tibeto-Burman languages, however, different construals of agency and/or volition do not seem to be factors in the Galo system. Thus, there are both similarities and differences underlying systems of person-sensitive TAME marking in different Tibeto-Burman languages; this suggests that further research - particularly, employing a diachronic perspective when possible - will be required before we can confidently characterize person-sensitive TAME marking from a pan-Tibeto-Burman (or broader) cross-linguistic perspective.