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Verbal Semantics in a Tibeto-Burman Language

The Bodo Verb


Prafulla Basumatary

The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive description of the verbal system of Bodo, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Northeast India, particularly Assam. The description is primarily based on a 1.2-million-word Bodo corpus, both written and spoken, involving different genres.

This is the first extensive work solely devoted to the description of the Bodo verb. The book provides a thorough description of the Bodo verb that will be comprehensive enough to be of use to Tibeto-Burmanists, on the one hand, and to language typologists, on the other. Second, it addresses certain pedagogic issues relating to the teaching of the Bodo language in schools.

The book encompasses a description of verbal roots, formation of verbal stems, inflection of verbal stems, and distribution of various verb forms in different types of clauses, such as independent clauses, embedded clauses, and chained clauses. Finally, a pedagogic perspective is provided with reference to the morphosyntactic aspects of the Bodo verb.

This book was the winner of the 2016 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Linguistics.

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Chapter 3: The Verb Root


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The Verb Root


This is the first of five chapters on the Bodo verb – its form and distribution. This chapter deals with the most essential component of the verb – the verb root. However, before taking up this relatively specific aspect of the Bodo verb, a broader perspective on this category will be provided by enumerating some of the well-known properties of verbs in Tibeto-Burman (TB) languages, in general, and Bodo-Garo (BG) languages, in particular. The class of verbs in Bodo is defined on the basis of its morphological behaviour and syntactic function. Verb roots are then considered with respect to syllable shape, borrowed verbs, and the transitivity of verbs.

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