Tibeto-Burman languages of Nepal: Manange and Sherpa. Ed. by Carol Genetti. (Pacific linguistics 557.) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2004. Pp. xiv, 324. ISBN 0858835355. $92.39.
Reviewed by Picus S. Ding, Macao Polytechnic Institute
This volume is composed of two descriptive grammars of Tibeto-Burman languages of Nepal: Manange by Kristine Hildebrandt (1–189), and Sherpa by Barbara Kelly (191–324). The preface by Carol Genetti provides a nice introduction to the sociolinguistic background of the minority languages (most of which are Tibeto-Burman) of Nepal.
Hildebrandt’s description of Manange is organized into five chapters. Ch. 1 mainly presents a general background on the language, the people, and the data (9–12). Ch. 2 deals with Manange phonetics and phonology (consonants, vowels, and tone), and some morphology such as reduplication strategies (13–41). Ch. 3 studies the Manange noun phrase, addressing nouns, pronominal paradigms, number, numerals and classifiers, adjectives, case marking, (in)definiteness, and word order in the NP (42–81). Ch. 4, ‘Morphology of the Manange verb complex and the clause’, covers the suffix -pʌ, stem classes, the copula, finite verb morphology (evidentials and aspect), modality, negation, valency adjustment, and word order of the clause (82–111). Ch. 5 examines clause-combining strategies in Manange, discussing complementation, relativization, adverbial modification, serialization, and the clause-chaining suffix -tse (112–30). There are two appendices: one provides a story text in Manange (131–40), and the other is a Manange glossary with an English guide (141–86).
Kelly’s description of Sherpa is also presented in five chapters. Ch. 1 is an introduction to the language, the people, and the data (199–202). Ch. 2 concerns Sherpa phonology (consonants, vowels, tone, phonotactics, and stress), with a comparison of different sounds in Solu and Khumu Sherpa (203–21). Ch. 3 centers on the morphology of the noun phrase, covering the structure of NP, types of lexical nouns, pronouns, number marking, case marking, articles, numerals and measurements, adjectives, and discourse particles (222–36). Ch. 4 focuses on the morphology of the verb phrase, describing copulas, simple and compound verbs, stem classes, finite verb inflection (tense, aspect, evidentials, and the conjunct/disjunct system), mood, causatives, and negation (237–60). Ch. 5 deals with the structure of clauses and sentences, discussing clause structure, word order, adverbial clauses, nominalization, complementation, relativization, and clause chaining (261–74). There are two appendices: one contains a narrative text in Sherpa (275–82), and the other is a Sherpa glossary (283–321).
The inclusion of an English guide, serving as an index to the Manange glossary, is very useful and necessary. It is a pity that this is lacking in the Sherpa glossary, especially given that the two descriptions follow a similar organizational framework. There are a number of spelling typos and inconsistencies, for example, ‘unaspirated’ before /pʰ/ (13); the Manange word for ‘ear’ is given as [ŋı̌mâ] on p. 37 but as [ŋjʌ`mʌ̂ŋ] on p. 38; the rendition of [f] as a phoneme of Sherpa (210) after pointing out that it is a free variant of /ph/ (204), and the retention of [q] as a phoneme in the consonant table (210).