[Colloquium] Bridging Constructions in Yonghe Qiang

Bridging constructions, also known as tail-head linkage constructions (Thurman 1975) are well represented in a diverse set of language families and linguistic areas. These constructions, which consist of at least two clauses, a reference clause and a bridging clause, perform a wide range of functions, and are commonly used as a strategy for increasing cohesion, especially in narrative and procedural discourse (Longacre and Thompson 1985).

This talk addresses the morpho-syntactic and prosodic characteristics of bridging constructions in the Yonghe variety of Qiang, a Northeastern Trans-Himalayan (Bradley 1997) language spoken in Sichuan, China. Drawing on recent cross-linguistic studies of bridging constructions (e.g., de Vries 2005, Guérin & Aiton 2019), the Yonghe constructions are considered in typological perspective.

As Yonghe Qiang is a tonal language, with both lexical and grammatical tone, the interaction between prosody and tone is an area of significant interest and is explored through quantitative measurements. Quantitative modeling helps capture the interplay between prosodic marking of different clause types and maintenance of tonal distinctiveness.