The Balochi dialect spoken in Turkmenistan possesses a case which is not seen in most other Balochi dialects. It has local/directive function, and its marker is a suffix that shows the oblique case marker suffixed to the genitive ending. The “locative” is also found in the Balochi dialect of Afghanistan, but here, the local deixis appears to always refer to a person. I argue that the locative may be interpreted within a typological framework implying that local deixis referring to persons is blocked in some languages. Instead, these languages use periphrastic constructions of the type “at a person's [place]”, as do English (e.g. at the baker's) and Old Georgian, among others. In Turkmenistan Balochi, areal influence from Russian and Turkmen, which have a separate locative case, may have played a role in the generalisation of the locative to include inanimates as well.
This article, which is based on fieldwork carried out 2007–2009 in various regions of Georgia, studies the Islamic circumcision ritual (Turkish sünnet, Azeri sünnǝt, Georgian ts‘inadatsveta) in the Caucasus and neighbouring regions. It specifically focusses on the tradition called Kirvalıq as practised by Azeri Turks in Georgia. This tradition establishes a relation between the boy and a kirva (“godfather”), who holds the boy during the ritual; the relation is understood as being a very close blood relation although the kirva and the boy are technically not related. In fact, the person chosen as kirva by the boy’s parents is often a member of another ethnic and/or religious group. This specific type of Kirvalıq is also found in Eastern Anatolia. We argue that the Kirvalıq serves the purpose of increasing the family’s network ties and thus contributes to the coherence of multiethnic and multireligious communities.