Non-Canonical Subjects in the Prakrit of Kōūhala’s Līlāvaī

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Andrew Ollett



Kōūhala’s Līlāvaī, a romance in Prakrit verse from around 800 CE, has two types of constructions that present “syntactical difficulties” (according to the text’s first editor): the use of mhi (I am) in the meaning of maē (by me), and the use of amhēhi (by us) and tumhēhi (by you) in the meanings of amhē (we) and tumhē (you). This article reviews the phenomena and puts them into the context of expressions of agency in related Indic languages, arguing that Prakrit’s split ergativity is implicated in both cases. A further conclusion is that the particle hi is all but absent from Kōūhala’s Prakrit.

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