Nepali Le as a Marker of Categorical Subjecthood


  • Luke Lindemann


The purpose of this paper is to investigate an account of ergative-nominative alternations in non- perfective clauses in Nepali. As observed in many Indo-Aryan languages, the ergative case marker is obligatory in perfective tenses. The variable presence of ergative marking in the non-perfective domain of Nepali has been articulated as an expression of emphasis, subject animacy, or individual- level predication. I argue that that =le marks the subject of a categorical proposition in the sense of Kuroda (1972). I explore the felicity of =le in particular discourse contexts depending upon whether the response is presented thetically or categorically. I also note that =le may only be found in quantifier phrases with strong construal, which provides support for the notion that =le marks categorical subjects.