The grammatical structure of Burushaski is reminiscent both of that of the Caucasian languages and that of Basque today spoken only in southwestern France and northern Spain , however, it has not yet been possible to prove genetic relationship either with these or any other languages. Text Volume , Corpus Inscr. Burushaski contains numerous words borrowed from neighboring languages at various times. Today, Urdu and English loanwords find their way into Burushaski at an increasing rate. There is a large number of Iranian loanwords, mostly borrowed from Persian Dari via Urdu, cf.
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Their native region is located in northern Gilgit—Baltistan and borders with Pamir corridor to the north. Attempts have been made to establish links between Burushaski and several different language families, although none has been accepted by a majority of linguists. The linguist Sadaf Munshi stated that Burushaski may have developed alongside the Dravidian languages before the Indo-Aryan migration to South Asia, mentioning the fact that both possess retroflex sounds.
Vajda rejects any relation between Yeniseian and Burushaski. Burushaski is spoken by about 90, speakers in Pakistan, and also by a few hundred in India. The varieties of Hunza and Nagar diverge slightly, but are clearly dialects of a single language. The Yasin variety, also known by the Khowar exonym Werchikwar , is much more divergent. Intelligibility between Yasin and Hunza-Nagar is difficult, and Yasin is sometimes considered a distinct language and the pure Burushaski is spoken in Yasin valley.
Yasin is spoken by a quarter of Burushaski speakers. Burushaski is a predominantly spoken rather than written language. Occasionally the Urdu alphabet is used,  , and there are some specific characters in unicode  , but no fixed orthography exists [ citation needed ]. Linguists working on Burushaski use various makeshift transcriptions based on the Latin alphabet, most commonly that by Berger see below , in their publications. Long vowels also occur in loans and in a few onomatopoeic words Grune All vowels have nasal counterparts in Hunza in some expressive words and in Nager also in proper names and a few other words.
Berger finds the following consonants to be phonemic , shown below in his transcription and in the IPA :. Burushaski is a double-marking language and word order is generally subject—object—verb. Nouns in Burushaski are divided into four genders : human masculine, human feminine, countable objects, and uncountable ones similar to mass nouns. The assignment of a noun to a particular gender is largely predictable. Some words can belong both to the countable and to the uncountable class, producing differences in meaning.
Noun morphology consists of the noun stem, a possessive prefix mandatory for some nouns, and thus an example of inherent possession , and number and case suffixes. Distinctions in number are singular, plural, indefinite, and grouped. Burushaski verbs have three basic stems: past tense, present tense, and consecutive. The past stem is the citation form and is also used for imperatives and nominalization ; the consecutive stem is similar to a past participle and is used for coordination.
Agreement on the verb has both nominative and ergative features: transitive verbs and unaccusatives mark both the subject and the object of a clause, while unergatives verbs mark only subject agreement on the verb. In Burushaski, there are four noun classes , similar to declensional classes in Indo-European languages , but unlike Indo-European, the nominal classes in Burushaski are associated with four grammatical "genders":.
Below, the abbreviation " h " will stand for the combination of the m- and f-classes, while " hx " will stand for the combination of the m-, f- and x-classes.
Nouns in the x-class typically refer to countable, non-human beings or things, for example animals, fruit, stones, eggs, or coins; conversely, nouns in the y-class are as a rule uncountable abstractions or mass nouns, such as rice, fire, water, snow, wool, etc. However, these rules are not universal — countable objects in the y-class are sometimes encountered, e.
Fruit trees are understood collectively and placed in the y-class, but their individual fruits belong to the x-class. Objects made of particular materials can belong to either the x- or the y- class: stone and wood are in the x-class, but metal and leather in the y-class.
The article , adjectives , numerals and other attributes must be in agreement with the noun class of their subject. There are two numbers in Burushaski: singular and plural. The singular is unmarked, while the plural is expressed by means of suffix, which vary depending on the class of the noun:.
Some nouns admit two or three different prefixes, while others have no distinctive suffix, and occur only in the plural, e. On the other hand, there are also nouns which have identical forms in the singular and plural, e. Adjectives have a unique plural suffix, whose form depends on the class of the noun they modify, e.
Burushaski is an ergative language. It has five primary cases. The case suffixes are appended to the plural suffix, e. The infixes, and their basic meanings, are as follows:. Nouns indicating parts of the body and kinship terms are accompanied by an obligatory pronominal prefix. Thus, one cannot simply say 'mother' or 'arm' in Burushaski, but only 'my arm', 'your mother', 'his father', etc.
For example, the root mi 'mother', is never found in isolation, instead one finds:. The pronominal, or personal, prefixes agree with the person, number and — in the third person, the class of their noun.
A summary of the basic forms is given in the following table:. Personal pronouns in Burushaski distinguish proximal and distal forms, e. In the oblique, there are additional abbreviated forms. The Burushaski number system is vigesimal , i. For example, 20 altar , 40 alto-altar 2 times 20 , 60 iski-altar 3 times 20 etc. The base numerals are:. The verbal morphology of Burushaski is extremely complicated and rich in forms.
Many sound changes can take place, including assimilation , deletion and accent shift , which are unique for almost every verb.
Here, we can only specify certain basic principles. The Burushaski finite verb falls into the following categories:. For many transitive verbs , in addition to the subject, the direct object is also indicated, also by pronomimal prefixes which vary according to person, number and class.
All verbs have negative forms, and many intransitive verbs also have derived transitive forms. The infinitive forms — which in Burushaski are the absolutives of the past and present, the perfect participle, and two infinitives — admit all the finite variations except tense and mood.
Infinitive forms are made together with auxiliary verbs and periphrastic forms. All verb forms can be constructed according to a complex but regular position system. Berger describes a total of 11 possible positions, or slots, although not all of these will be filled in any given verb form.
The verb stem is in position 5, preceded by four possible prefixes and followed by seven possible suffixes. The following table gives an overview of the positions and their functions. The formation of the tenses and moods involves the use of several positions, or slots, in complicated ways. The optative and imperative are derived directly from the stem. Altogether, the schema is as follows:. The subject and object of the verb are indicated by the use of personal prefixes and suffixes in positions 3, 8 and 10 as follows:.
The personal prefixes are identical to the pronominal prefixes of nouns mandatory with body parts and kinship terms, as above. A simplified overview of the forms of the affixes is given in the following table:. The personal affixes are also used when the noun occupies the role of the subject or the object, e. With intransitive verbs, the subject function is indicated by both a prefix and a suffix, as in:.
Personal prefixes do not occur in all verbs and all tenses. Some verbs do not admit personal prefixes, others still do so only under certain circumstances.
Personal prefixes used with intransitive verbs often express a volitional function, with prefixed forms indicating an action contrary to the intention of the subject. For example:. A number of verbs — mostly according to their root form — are found with the d-prefix in position 2, which occurs before a consonant according to vowel harmony. The precise semantic function of the d-prefix is unclear. With primary transitive verbs the d-prefix, always without personal prefixes, forms regular intransitives.
A master's thesis research work of a native speaker of Burushaski on Middle Voice Construction in the Hunza Dialect claims that the [dd-] verbal prefix is an overt morphological middle marker for MV constructions, while the [n-] verbal prefix is a morphological marker for passive voice.
This research is based on a corpus of dd-prefix verbs. The author argues that the middle marker is a semantic category of its own and that it is clearly distinguished from the reflexive marker in this language. The middle marker MM means the grammatical device used to "indicate that the two semantic roles of Initiator and Endpoint refer to a single holistic entity" Kemmer In the view of that definition, I look at a middle marked verb in Burushaski and illustration follows the example.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Language isolate spoken by Burusho people. Language family. Language isolate. In any case, it does not occur in the Yasin dialect, and in Hunza and Nager it does not occur at the beginning of words. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies.
The University of Texas at Austin. Glottolog 3. Retrieved 23 September It's spoken by about 90, people, the Burusho people, and nearly all of them live in Pakistan. A few hundred live in India. Retrieved 14 September Linguist List. Blazek, "Lexica Dene—Caucasica". August Sino-Platonic Papers. Retrieved 5 April
Burushaski language , also spelled Burushaki or Burushki , language spoken primarily in the Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin valleys of northern Pakistan. It is estimated to have some 90, speakers. Burushaski is a linguistic isolate, a language whose genetic relationship to other languages is not yet clear. In this respect it is like Basque , a language spoken in the western Pyrenees of Spain and France.
A linguistics researcher at the Macquarie University in Australia has discovered that the language, known as Burushaski, which is spoken by about 90, people who reside in a remote area of Pakistan, is Indo-European in origin. An entire issue of the eminent international linguistics journal the Journal of Indo-European Studies is devoted to a discussion of his findings later this month. More than fifty eminent linguists have tried over many years to determine the genetic relationship of Burushaski. The Phrygians migrated from Macedonia to Anatolia today part of Turkey and were famous for their legendary kings who figure prominently in Greek mythology such as King Midas who turned whatever he touched into gold. They later migrated further east, reaching India. Indeed, according to ancient legends of the Burushaski or Burusho people, they are descendants of Alexander the Great.
The picturesque valleys of northern Pakistan are the cradles of many strange languages and cultures. The languages spoken here — virtually little explored just like these valleys —include Balti, Shina, Khuwar, Wakhi, Pahari, Burushaski and many others. Burushaski is perhaps the strangest of them all. In addition to the valleys of Hunza, Nagar and Yasin, Burushaski is also spoken in some parts of Gilgit, with slightly different accents and dialectic features.
Consider this: Out of a population of around But the language is spoken by around , people in the Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin valleys of Gilgit-Baltistan, claimed by Pakistan as its fifth province. In Kashmir, the speakers of Burushaski are said to be the descendants of a tribal king from northern Pakistan, and are mostly concentrated in a locality at the foothills of Hari Parbat, Srinagar. Munshi started her documentation work on Burushaski in Srinagar in Many of the recordings were done during curfews in the strife-torn Kashmir Valley. The issue was resolved after the intervention of the older generation. Munshi admits that language documentation can be intrusive, involving audio and video recordings of conversations as well as other areas of speech.