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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Languages of the Caucasus is an open-access peer-reviewed electronic journal that publishes linguistic research on languages of the Caucasus.

The first issue (1.1) will be a memorial volume for Aleksandr Kibrik and Sandro Kodzasov, founders of an illustrious tradition of fieldwork and analysis of languages of the Caucasus and intellectual inspiration to Caucasianists and typologists everywhere. 

We will use a volume and issue number system for ease of bibliographical reference, but papers will be published as soon as they are accepted and received in final form.  Articles for the memorial issue can be submitted at any time from Jan. 15 to about mid-November 2015 (leaving time for review, acceptance, and editing during 2015).  Articles not for the memorial issue will appear in Vol. 1.2 if received in time for review and acceptance during 2015.  (That is, the memorial and plain issues of Vol. 1 will run simultaneously.)

Languages of the Caucasus


Evidentiality in East Caucasian on the map

Languages spoken in contiguous areas tend to have similar systems of evidentiality marking. The Caucasus is part of a large area where systems centered on marking events as not witnessed by the speaker are widespread among genealogically unrelated languages. It is often suggested that Turkic languages could be the source of diffusion in this case, because evidentiality is an old and prominent feature of Turkic grammar. This paper explores the areal dimension of evidentiality in languages of the East Caucasian family, which are spoken on a relatively compact territory in the eastern Caucasus. It provides an overview of the most common types of marking and their geographical distribution among the East Caucasian languages and their Turkic neighbors. The spread of evidentiality as part of the tense system shows a peculiar pattern in the eastern Caucasus, which suggests that it could be a contact-induced feature. However, a number of factors prevent the reconstruction of a specific borrowing scenario. Based on the currently available data the Turkic contact hypothesis cannot be confirmed nor refuted. The paper proposes an alternative scenario for a mixed language-internal and contact-induced development that can possibly be verified with data from oral narratives.