Search Results

The present paper aims at a closer inspection of historical layers of the lexicon of East Caucasian by looking at a small set of lexical forms that are related to the world of concepts for domestic animals. The paper concentrates on these terms also in order to discuss the question to which extent the reconstructability of corresponding forms for Proto-East Caucasian may shed light on some of the economical patterns of the speakers of this language. It will be shown that much of the terminology for domestic animals has to be related to earlier or later loan layers or to innovative processes within the subgroups. The fact that very few of the terms occurring in one of the domains at issue (‘cow’, ‘horse’, ‘donkey’, ‘pig’, ‘sheep’, ‘goat’) can be reconstructed for Proto-East Caucasian is related to the assumption that lexical terms that are strongly related to the praxeological dimension of socioeconomic concepts tend to be rather instable and adaptable over times to changes with respect to these praxeological patterns. The paper also strongly advocates for a closer consideration and isolation of loan layers present in the individual East Caucasian languages prior to any enterprise aiming at the reconstruction of Proto-East Caucasian lexical units.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

Traditionally, functioning of major classes of lexical items is described as follows. Nouns prototypically function as arguments, but can also serve as predicates and attributes; verbs are normally used as predicates, but can also appear for arguments and attributes; and adjectives are categorically attributes, while secondary they can be used as predicates. The question arises, whether adjectives can serve as arguments (and how). The answer is, undoubtedly, “yes”, they can. When an adjective is used without a head, it begins to function as a noun. The current research aims to describe the morphological behaviour of such nominalised adjectives in the East Caucasian languages. The study of 31 grammatical descriptions of these languages, based on the analysis of nominalised adjectives, reveals 5 groups of the East Caucasian languages.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

Khinalug, a minority language spoken by some 1,500 people mainly in the village of Khinalug in the Quba district of Azerbaijan Republic, is generally regarded as the most divergent East Caucasian language. Its exact genealogical place within the group of around 30 East Caucasian languages has been debated since long. Still, at least some of the relevant contributions to this debate, ground their arguments in a rather small piece of evidence, usually taken from a handful of assumed lexical correspondences and typological analogies. In the present paper, I discuss some methodological problems related to the enterprise of determining the place of Khinalug among the East Caucasian languages, addressing both selected lexical and grammatical features. I also include some sociolinguistic features that are crucial to the discussion. As an alternative to the current hypotheses, I suggest to consider the possibility that Khinalug is not an East Caucasian language from a genetic point of view, but a non-East Caucasian language that has become “Caucasianised” over times. In the first part of my paper I will focus on some general issues and on the lexicon.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

This is the second part of the article dedicated to the discussion of some methodological problems related to the history of Khinalug, published in the current volume of Iran and the Caucasus (see Schulze 2018). Whereas the first part analyses some basic data on Khinalug in its genetic problem and addressed some questions of loans and cognates, the second one turns to grammatical issues. Khinalug, a minority language spoken by some 1500 people mainly in the village of Khinalug in the north of Azerbaijan Republic, is generally regarded as the most divergent East Caucasian language. Its exact genealogical place within the world of the roughly 30 East Caucasian languages has been debated since long. Still, at least some of the relevant contributions to this debate ground their arguments in just a rather small piece of evidence, usually taken from a handful of assumed lexical correspondences and typological analogies. The same holds for grammar. As for morphosyntax, the problem is complicated by the fact that hitherto it is virtually impossible to safely reconstruct a more systematic inventory of Proto-East Caucasian morphemes together with their function values. A closer look at the morphosyntax of Khinalug may lead to just the same conclusion that seems to emerge from a more comprehensive analysis of the lexicon: I suggest, to consider the possibility that Khinalug is not an East Caucasian language from a genetic point of view, but a non-East Caucasian language that has become ‘Caucasianized’ over times.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

Two palimpsest manuscripts founded in the Mt. Sinai monastery by Zaza Aleksidze and identified as Caucasian Albanian by the same researcher can be regarded as the earliest documentation of an East Caucasian language. The decipherment of the palimpsests dating back to probably the 6th or 7th century A.D. mainly by Jost Gippert and the author of this paper allow relating the language of these texts (fragments of the Gospel of John and parts of a Christian lectionary) to the world of modern East Caucasian languages. It soon became clear that the language conventionally termed Caucasian Albanian (CA; for lack of a known autochthonous name) can be regarded as a more or less direct ancestor of present-day Udi, a minotarian language spoken in one village in Azerbaijan (Nij), as well as in some other settlements and cities of the former USSR. The paper wants to illustrate the degree of relatedness between of CA and Udi by referring to aspects of phonology, morphosyntax, and the lexicon. The CA and (Vartashen) Udi versions of a short text passage (Matthew 17,1-3) are additionally used to show that although some major processes of language change have occurred since the times of CA, there still is enough evidence that ascertain the assumption of immediate relatedness.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The present paper discusses the historical background of selected terms in the world of East Caucasian languages that are related to the domain of metallurgy (copper, iron, tin, plumb, gold, and silver) augmented by terms for ‘coal’ and ‘salt’. A closer inspection of these terms shows that none of them can be reconstructed for Proto-East Caucasian. Rather, we have to deal either with terms that have been coined in the intermediate protolanguages (Nakh, Avar-Andian, Tsezian, Lezgian, Lak, Dargwa, and Khinalug) or with more or less recent loans stemming mainly from the Iranian and Turkic languages. The absence of reconstructable terms for the items under review suggests that the speakers of the East Caucasian proto-language had not been involved expressively in metallurgic traditions (as opposed to farming traditions). Tentatively, these speakers can thus be associated with the early farming culture within the complex of the Kuro-Araxes Culture. Only after the protolanguage disintegrated due to the migration of most of its speakers in the Dagestan and the regions of Chechnya, some societies related to these intermediate proto-languages must have been involved more expressively in metallurgic traditions. The more recent loans, e.g. for copper, gold, and silver, stemming from Iranian (Persian) and Turkic (Kumyk and Azeri) illustrate a shift in conceptualising these objects: They were now interpreted as artifacts (rather than as natural resources) that were associated with the cultures of the dominant ‘Oriental’ societies. The paper can be seen as a preliminary study concerning the areal distribution of lexical patterns in the Eastern Caucasus from a historical perspective.

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Author: Michael Daniel

, fully regular. This is how many East Caucasian languages are described. One stem, called ‘ perfective perfective’, derives perfective perfective forms, including perfective past perfective perfective past past (i.e. aorist aorist), perfective perfective converb converb, perfective perfective

In: The Semantics of Verbal Categories in Nakh-Daghestanian Languages
Author: Samira Verhees

This paper presents a description of evidentiality marking in the Rikvani dialect of Andi. As a language spoken in the Caucasus, Andi is situated in the center of a large area within Eurasia where evidentiality is frequently expressed with a perfect or resultative form of the verb (general indirective), and special particles marking hearsay (and sometimes also inference). Both are attested in Andi and form independent evidential paradigms. I will explore the way these forms are used in natural texts and elicitation and how they interact with each other. An important issue is to what extent evidentiality can be considered grammaticalized as part of the verbal paradigm in Andi. I will compare my observations on Andi to the systems found in other East Caucasian languages.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The article focuses on folk beliefs related to the cult of plants and particularly that of the mandrake in the Eastern Caucasus, revealed predominantly in folk magical procedures. The research is based on field materials, including those reflected in relevant publications, as well as on sporadic data found in historical sources.

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Volume Editors: Diana Forker and Timur Maisak
The Caucasus is the place with the greatest linguistic variation in Europe. The present volume explores this variation within the tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality systems in the languages of the North-East Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) family. The papers of the volume cover the most challenging and typologically interesting features such as aspect and the complicated interaction of aspectual oppositions expressed by stem allomorphy and inflectional paradigms, grammaticalized evidentiality and mirativity, and the semantics of rare verbal categories such as the deliberative (‘May I go?’), the noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care’), different types of habituals (gnomic, qualitative, non-generic), and perfective tenses (aorist, perfect, resultative). The book offers an overview of these features in order to gain a broader picture of the verbal semantics covering the whole North-East Caucasian family. At the same time it provides in-depth studies of the most fascinating phenomena.