Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


Linguistic areality in Peristan, lecture by Henrik Liljegren (Stockholm University).

Foredrag — Lingvistkredsen inviterer til foredrag med Henrik Liljegren. Læs mere på: https://lingvistkredsen.ku.dk/kalender/foraar-2024/linguistic-areality-in-peristan/


Date & Time:

South Campus, room 24.0.11

Hosted by:


Peristan, or the mountain region comprising northern Pakistan, north-eastern Afghanistan and the northern-most part of the Indian-administered Kashmir region, is home to more than 50 language communities, belonging to six phylogenies: Indo- Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, Sino-Tibetan, Turkic and the isolate Burushaski. In a recent study, comparable first-hand data from as many as 59 Hindu Kush–Karakoram language varieties, was collected and analyzed. The data allowed classifying each variety according to 80 binary features within five linguistic domains (phonology, lexico-semantics, grammatical categories, clause structure and word order properties). Many structural properties cluster together geographically and often display convergence across phylogenetic boundaries. However, the analysis does not lend support to a simplistic description of Peristan as a single linguistic area with clear boundaries. The strongest evidence of a reality tied to the region itself, or to one or more of its sub-regions, relates to phonology and lexico-semantics. In this talk, I present and discuss a subset of the latter, e.g., polysemous kinship terms, vigesimal numeral systems and highly differentiated spatial expressions. Apart from providing a typological perspective on these features and their occurrence in the languages of Peristan, I will relate them to shared (mainly pre-Islamic) cultural outlooks and a long history of small-scale cross-community interaction.

Henrik Liljegren is a professor in general linguistics at Stockholm University with a focus on language documentation and description. His main interests are areal typology, language contact and Hindu Kush languages (spoken in northern Pakistan, north-eastern Afghanistan and the disputed territories of Kashmir and Ladakh). Apart from research, he has been engaged in language maintenance efforts and advising local communities on language documentation. As one of the co-founders of the Forum for Language Initiatives, a resource centre for language communities in Pakistan’s mountainous North, he lived in Pakistan for eight years with his wife and two children.

Selected publications
Liljegren, Henrik. 2022. “Nuristani in Its Areal and Typological Context.” International Journal of Diachronic Linguistics and Linguistic Reconstruction 19: 201–265. https://doi.org/10.29091/9783752002348.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2022. “Kinship Terminologies Reveal Ancient Contact Zone in the Hindu Kush.” Linguistic Typology 26, no. 2: 211–45. https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2021-2080.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2020. “The Hindu Kush–Karakorum and Linguistic Areality.” Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 7, no. 2: 239–85. https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2021-2027.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2020. “Emerging Epistemic Marking in Indo-Aryan Palula.” In Evidentiality, Egophoricity and Engagement, edited by Henrik Bergqvist and Seppo Kittilä, 141–63. Studies in Diversity Linguistics. Berlin: Language Science Press. https://langsci-press.org/catalog/book/261.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2019. “Palula Dictionary.” Dictionaria, no. 3: 1–2700.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2019. “Gender Typology and Gender (in)Stability in Hindu Kush Indo-Aryan Languages.” In Grammatical Gender and Linguistic Complexity I: General Issues and Specific Studies, edited by Francesca Di Garbo, Bruno Olsson, and Bernhard Wälchli, 279–328. Studies in Diversity Linguistics 26. Berlin: Language Science Press. https://langsci-press.org/catalog/book/223.

Heegård, Jan, and Henrik Liljegren. 2018. “Geomorphic Coding in Palula and Kalasha.” Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 50, no. 2: 129–60. https://doi.org/10.1080/03740463.2018.1432210.

Liljegren, Henrik. 2018. “Supporting and Sustaining Language Vitality in Northern Pakistan.” In The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization, edited by Leanne Hinton, Leena Huss, and Gerald Roche, 1 edition, 427–37. New York, NY: Routledge.

Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria, and Henrik Liljegren. 2017. “Semantic Patterns from an Areal Perspective.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics, edited by Raymond Hickey, 204–36. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Liljegren, Henrik, and Naseem Haider. 2015. “Facts, Feelings and Temperature Expressions in the Hindukush.” In The Linguistics of Temperature, edited by Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 440–70. Typological Studies in Language 107. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.