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Notes on Kusunda Grammar: A language isolate of Nepal [HL Archive 3]

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The Kusundas, also known as Ban Rajas "Kings of the Forest", first came to the attention of the Western world in 1848 when Brian Hodgson, the British Resident to the Court of Nepal, introduced them in an article in the "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal", On the Chepang and Kusunda tribes of Nepal. The assumed affinity between Kusunda and Chepang was based on their similar lifestyles -- both were hunter-gatherer groups -- and the error has persisted to the present day.

In fact, Kusunda is a linguistic isolate, very likely the sole survivor of an ancient aboriginal population once inhabiting the sub-Himalayan regions before the arrival of Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan speaking peoples. Though reported in the Ethnologue and other sources as extinct since 1985, three speakers were discovered in 2004, and the present grammar is based on almost three months of intensive research with them. This is the first comprehensive grammatical treatment of the language.

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