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Words for 'one' in Báimă

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image of Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale

This article describes different words for 'one' in Báimă, a language spoken at the border of Sichuān and Gānsu provinces in China. According to Sūn Hóngkāi, the profusion of words for 'one' in Báimă is one of the features that distinguish Báimă from Tibetan. This paper discusses the distribution of various words for 'one' in a corpus of Báimă stories collected during a fieldwork in 2003, and comments on their meanings and functions, on restrictions of their co-occurrence, and on their interchangeability and etymology. Contrary to Sūn's conclusion, it is argued that all forms are cognate with Tibetan.


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