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Abstract

Tibetan verbal morphology differs considerably from that of other Sino-Tibetan languages. Most of the vocalic and consonantal alternations observed in the verbal paradigms remain unexplained after more than a hundred years of investigation: the study of historical Tibetan morphology would seem to have reached an aporia. This paper proposes a new model, explaining the origin of the alternations in the Tibetan verb as the remnant of a former system of directional prefixes, typologically similar to the ones still attested in the Rgyalrongic languages.