ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Distinct valency-changing morphology in the western Himalayas: inheritance, diffusion or both? A mixed-methods linguistic investigation


Borin Lars - University of Gothenburg, Språkbanken Text, Dept. of Swedish, Multilingualism, Language Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


19 – Beyond “linguistic areas” – Recent advances in the study of language contact in South Asia


 “Himalayan linguistic prehistory in a new light” is a research project with the aim of investigating linguistic relationships in the western Himalayas, with a particular focus on the prehistory of the Western Himalayish subgroup of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

In our pursuit of this aim, we apply a mixed-methods approach to be described and discussed in this presentation: traditional qualitative historical-comparative linguistic investigation is combined with quantitative computational methodology.

In this presentation, we will describe and discuss:

•              the compilation of a lexical dataset based on the IDS concept list (Borin et al. 2013), and application of software for inducing regular sound correspondences from cognate items (Wettig et al. 2013; Blaschke and Korniyenko 2018);

•              the compilation of a dataset of selected structural elements (affixes, clitics, adpositions, auxiliaries) in Sino-Tibetan languages of the western Himalayas and the design of software for exploring these data;

•              in-depth investigation of a particular structural feature found in some of the languages under scrutiny, valency-changing verbal morphology, exemplified by Kinnauri (Sino-Tibetan; Saxena 2017, 2022) -e(d) [-intr] and -j(aː) [-tr].