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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Burushaski and unique Slavic isoglosses


Comparative historical studies have established over five hundred lexical correspondences between autochthonous Burushaski words and Indo-European as well as significant grammatical correlations. A genetic relationship has been proposed. Within these correspondences, the correlations of Burushaski with Slavic together with other branches are numerous and regular. These are not the subject of this paper. We concentrate exclusively on Burushaski isoglosses with words or meanings uniquely found in Slavic which consequently often have unclear, difficult or competing etymologies. The stratification of these isoglosses is complex. It appears that we might be dealing with various layers. In some cases, the phonetic and formal make up suggests a correlation of remote antiquity, yet in many instances it is difficult to establish a chronology. Most of the isoglosses involve cultural borrowing, with the direction of borrowing unclear, but a significant number (the considerable correspondences in the names of body parts, grammatical particles) may point to a closer genetic relationship.

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