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Bisyndetic Contrast Marking in the Hindukush: Additional Evidence of a Historical Contact Zone

In: Journal of Language Contact
Authors:
Henrik Liljegren Stockholm University, henrik@ling.su.se

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Erik Svärd Stockholm University, erik@eriksvard.se

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A contrastive (or antithetical) construction which makes simultaneous use of two separate particles is identified through a mainly corpus-based study as a typical feature of a number of lesser-described languages spoken in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderland in the high Hindukush. The feature encompasses Nuristani languages (Waigali, Kati) as well as the Indo-Aryan languages found in their close vicinity (Palula, Kalasha, Dameli, Gawri), while it is not shared by more closely related Indo-Aryan languages spoken outside of this geographically delimited area. Due to a striking (although not complete) overlap with at least two other (unrelated) structural features, pronominal kinship suffixes and retroflex vowels, we suggest that a linguistic and cultural diffusion zone of considerable age is centred in the mountainous Nuristan-Kunar-Panjkora area.

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