The Historical Development of Causative/Applicative and Middle Constructions in Southeastern and Southwestern Kuki-Chin

Date: 26 September 2023
Time: 16:00 - 17:30

This talk argues for the shared origin of two valence-affecting constructions in South Central Tibeto-Burman, specifically Southeastern and Southwestern Kuki-Chin. They propose that these constructions, despite seeming unrelated, may indicate a closer relationship between Southeastern and Southwestern languages within this subgroup. Notably, both regions have similar morphological elements indicating causative and applicative functions. Southeastern Kuki-Chin, exemplified in Hyow, shows similar middle marker morphology. The authors suggest a common origin involving initial causative or comitative applicative elements, evolving into middle markers in Southeastern languages while retaining some applicative semantics. This parallels a situation in West Africa where causative, applicative, and middle semantics have evolved from an original 'co-participation' marker in Wolof. The paper aims to comprehensively explore these linguistic phenomena and their semantic evolution. Muhammad Zakaria completed his PhD in 2018 at Nanyang Technological University. He specializes in the Kuki-Chin languages of Bangladesh and Myanmar, including morphosyntax, historical linguistics, and oral literature. Following his doctoral studies, he conducted postdoctoral research as a ELDP research fellow at SOAS University of London and a JSPS fellow at Osaka University, Japan, where he focused on the project "Reconstruction of Middle-Marking Morphology and Its Functions in Southern Chin." He has a grammar of Hyow forthcoming with De Gruyter.

Campus Location

Arts Building


All levels


One-time event

Type of Event

Lectures and Seminars,Public


Researchers,Retired Staff,Undergrad,Postgrad,Alumni,Faculty & Staff,Public

Contact Name

Nathan Hill

Contact Email


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TRiSS Seminar Room, Arts Building sixth floor

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