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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Himalayan Linguistics is a free peer-reviewed web journal and archive devoted to the study of the languages of the Himalayas. It includes the series Languages and Peoples of the Eastern Himalayan Region, which incorporates the North East Indian Linguistics (NEIL) volumes.

Himalayan Linguistics 20.1

Issue cover
Cover Caption: Lithang County in Ganzi Prefecture, Sichuan, China


Aspect markings of Niesu, a dialect of Nuosu in Sichuan, China

This paper describes the aspectual markings of Niesu, an understudied Tibeto-Burman language, spoken in Sichuan, Southwest China. Niesu is the dialect of Nuosu, both of which are classified as Nuosu proper. By describing the data of the two subdialects of Niesu, namely Suondi and Adur, this paper categorizes Niesu aspectual markings into two types: simplex and complex. Except for the perfective o44 , which is an enclitic, all other aspectual markings are auxiliary. Unlike the simplex markers, the complex aspectual markers are formed through compounding or modification, making them further analyzable regarding the internal structure. Meanwhile, different nuances of meaning or function accompany the complex forms, compared with the basic forms. The grammaticalizations of the aspectual markings in Niesu are cross-linguistically well-attested phenomena, namely the continuous and progressive markings are grammaticalized from the existential verb, ‘be at, stay’, ‘put, place’, the motion verbs and the posture verbs. But the source and formation can be different. For example, Niesu metaphorically makes use of the verbs po55 ‘run’ (Suondi) in compound aspectual auxiliary ko33po554444 (Suondi) to denote the progressive. The functions of the complex aspectual markings are determined by the grammaticalization of the core verbs in the construction.

Reported Evidentiality in Tibeto-Burman Languages

Classifications of evidentiality all include at least one ‘reported’, ‘quotative’ or ‘hearsay’ category. This category is found in many language groups that are attested to have evidentiality, including the Tibeto-Burman family. Although attested, reported evidentiality is often under-described in both descriptive grammars of specific languages, and typologies of evidentiality across the family. This survey of reported evidentiality in the Tibeto-Burman family found mention of reported evidentiality in descriptions of 88 of 130 languages. While there are clear patterns with regards to the morphosyntactic features of reported evidentiality across these languages, there is a great deal of variation in the semantic features, including the number of reported evidential distinctions and the specificity of source. This survey demonstrates that reported evidentiality is complex and varied across languages, even within the same family, and outlines ways to improve future documentation and description.

  • 1 supplemental file

Terminological Proposals for the Nuristani languages

Recent years have seen an increase in the variety of language names used for the Nuristani languages (Indo-Iranian), which are spoken in Eastern Afghanistan and to some extent across the border in Northern Pakistan. This increase is driven by efforts to recognize local practices, but it has also created confusion and inconsistencies in many areas, making terminological justifications a necessary part of every publication regarding these languages. A unified terminology would not only be convenient for linguists and other researchers - in so far as scientific usage can influence colloquial practices, it would also increase the visibility and recognizability of the languages of this little-known language family on the national and international level, thus also potentially benefiting the native speaking communities. The proposals given in this paper aim to create an internally consistent terminology that is scientifically precise, accurate, and recognizable for speakers, while also being congruent with the naming principles put forward for the Glottolog database.

On some recent claims on Burushaski

There is a new theory that Burushaski is related to Kartvelian, put forward by Holst (2017). Čašule (2017), published in this journal, made various statements about this new theory. Čašule says that he is not convinced by it and seeks to explain why he is not. Unfortunately, his assessment contains a number of misunderstandings, statements which do not entirely match the facts of Holst (2017), and other features which can be regarded as problematic. In addition, there are many issues on which divided opinions are possible. Given this, the present paper is intended to react to Čašule (2017). While doing this, new issues come into the debate.

Review: The Dura language: Grammar and phylogeny

The present article is a review of The Dura language: Grammar and phylogeny by Schorer (2016).