Multifunctionality of <em>le</em> in Nepali

  • Raj Khatri George Brown College


This paper studies the use of le, a unit of language (UoL) in Nepali, and its multifunctionality. As a UoL, le denotes one single lexical item that demonstrates different functions, depending upon the syntactic contexts le is used in. The study discusses four different functions of le: le-ergative, le-instrumental, le-reason, and le-verb. As an ergative marker, le is a suffix on the subject of a transitive verb. However, as an instrumental marker, le is attached to an object that the subject uses to perform an action. The UoL le is attached to past participle forms of the verb, and it shows a reason as a reason-clause marker. In addition, le can also be used as a lexical verb. After these four functions are discussed, the paper attempts to associate the multifunctionality of le with four domains of Wiltschko’s (2014) Universal Spine Hypothesis (USH): classification, point-of-view, anchoring, and linking.

Keywords: le in Nepali; multifunctionality; Universal Spine Hypothesis