Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines data from Lao, a radically isolating Southwestern Tai language spoken in Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, and asks how speakers of such a language might cope without case. Lao is like Mandarin, Thai, Vietnamese, and Riau Indonesian in exemplifying the extreme of pragmatically oriented grammar. Where case marking simply distinguishes who from whom, it is mostly dispensable, thanks to the richness of pragmatics. Moreover, for more ‘expressive’ functions of case marking, where features of transitivity are manipulated for expressive or information-structural effect, Lao finds constructional means to treat certain arguments in special ways, thereby explicitly marking non-redundant semantic information in case-like ways. This article also examines patterns of argument-predicate relations, focusing on monovalent predicates, symmetric and other non-oriented bivalent predicates, and asymmetric bivalent predicates. Finally, it considers the expressive functions which case marking might perform, that is where special treatment of one or another argument serves to manipulate semantic distinctions in the construal of event structure and participant involvement.

Keywords: Lao, case, grammar, pragmatics, case marking, argument-predicate relations, arguments, construal, event structure, predicates

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.