ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The Konkani case system – Indo-Aryan heritage and Dravidian impulses


Peterson John - Kiel University, Linguistics, Kiel, Germany


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


 As Nadkarni (1975) shows, Kannada (South Dravidian) has had a profound impact on the morpho-syntax of relative clauses in the Southern Indo-Aryan language Konkani as this is spoken by the Saraswat community  in Karnataka. This influence has been demonstrated for other areas of the grammar as well in Goan Konkani, such as with negative-marking strategies (Peterson, 2022; Peterson & Chevallier, 2022), so that Konkani now likely has the most complex negative-marking system of any NIA language.

In my talk, I will show that this Kannada influence also extends to the Konkani case system, which with 13 cases is undoubtedly one of the largest case systems of NIA languages and appears to be expanding. I will also show that this influence has led to a number of typologically unusual cases, most but perhaps not all of which can be directly traced back to Kannada influence.

Nadkarni, M.V. 1975. Bilingualism and Syntactic Change in Konkani. Language 51:672-83

Peterson, John. 2022. A sociolinguistic-typological approach to the linguistic prehistory of South Asia – Two case studies. Language Dynamics and Change. 12/2: 224-273. doi:

Peterson, John & Lennart Chevallier. 2022 Towards a typology of negation in South Asian languages. Bhāṣā, Journal of South Asian Linguistics, Philology and Grammar Traditions. 1/1: 17-62. DOI: 10.30687/bhasha/8409-3769/2022/01/005