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Hani is a language in the Loloish family, spoken primarily in Yunnan Province of
southwest China. This thesis presents a description of constituent order and participant
reference in written Hani narrative discourse. The primary data source for this thesis
consists of three narratives, which are included in the appendices.
Constituent order in Hani is largely constrained by the principle of natural
information flow. In order to conform to this principle, some constituents may appear in
two or more different positions in the clause, depending on the information structure of
the assertion being made. Information structure also influences the use and non-use of
the ablative case marker.
Referents in Hani may be encoded as zero, with pronominal forms, or as lexical
NPs. The default encodings of referents in various contexts are first presented, and then
the variations from default encodings are considered. Greater-than-default encoding
occurs at discontinuities and in order to highlight the information which follows.
Lexical NPs may be encoded as indefinite, definite, with demonstratives, or be
unmarked for definiteness. NPs encoded as definite are salient in the ongoing narrative.
The proximal and distal demonstratives are used with reference to the text-internal world
in ways which parallel their functions in the text-external world, indicating that referents
are near the center of attention of a narrative or away from it, respectively.
[ In the interest of making this work available without further delay, we are posting it as it was accepted by the institution that granted the degree without further peer review.]