This preliminary study, partly based on fieldwork data, partly on available descriptions, looks at lexical convergence resulting from language contact in the Greater Hindu Kush (northern Pakistan, north-eastern Afghanistan, and Kashmir), a region characterized by a combination of linguistic diversity (including Indo-Iranian, Nuristani, Tibeto-Burman and the isolate Burushaski), a high level of multilingualism and by serving as an age-old transit zone between South, West, and Central Asia (Tikkanen 1988; Bashir 2003, 821–823). A few influential “culture carriers” of change are: Islam; a common Persian culture; poetry; and, in more recent times, media in which regional lingua franca-filtered English plays an increasing role. The lexical convergence can be observed on three interrelated levels: a) a micro-level characterized by shared internal semantic structure, b) a mid-level, whereby the structure of entire semantic domains display significant similarities, and c) a macro-level, with shared features of lexicon organization.
The first level encompasses single lexemes across languages, e.g. shared specializations (Kamviri (Strand 2013): nučúṭ ‘three days ago’, nutrí ‘the day before yesterday’, dus ‘yesterday’, strák ɡaaǰaar ‘today’, daalkẽ́ ‘tomorrow’, aatrí ‘the day after tomorrow’, aačǘṭ ‘three days hence’; Dameli (Morgenstierne 1942, 137–178, Emil Perder pc.): učooṭ/čooṭ diyoo,itrii, doos, mu(n)dya, beraa, truida, čooṭ/čooṭa ki, respectively), shared polysemy (Kalasha (Trail and Cooper 1999, 112): ɡríik; Pashto: axistəl ‘take’ – ‘buy’), and metaphorical extensions (Kashmiri: toṛon; Palula: šidáalu ‘cold’—‘hostile, unkind’). The second level is defined by semantic domains, and includes lexical relations between semantically related concepts (Khowar: ma oraru ɡoyan [lit. to-me sleep is coming] ‘I’m feeling sleepy’ vs. xaphosi parir ‘Xaposi sleeps’; Palula: asaám húluk dítu de [lit. on-us heat is fallen] ‘We were feeling hot’ vs. anú wíi táatu ‘This water is hot’; where the subjective experience is expressed as the stimulus coming to the experiencer) and shared derivational pathways, such as a participial ‘attaching’ marking the “manipulee” in causative constructions (Kalasha (Trail and Cooper 1999, 289; Bashir 2003, 823): a ísa ṣaṭawái, ɡonḍík čhinawáis ‘I had him break the stick’; Kalam Kohistani (Baart 1999, 94–95): yä murād ṣā ǰämāl bakānt ‘I’m making Murad beat up Jamal’). The third level is probably the most interesting, as it facilitates lower-level convergence. One example is the gradual substitution of the single verb inventory by “new” complex predicates (Ladakhi: ban-coces (cf. indigenous satces); Indus Kohistani (Zoller 2005, 301): bʌ́nḍ karʌ́v̄; Pashto bandawəl [lit. closed-do] ‘to turn off’, modelled on Urdu band karnaa). Other examples are the prevalence of co-lexicalized intensifiers (Burushaski (Berger 1998, 226–227): qhal-matúm ‘pitch black’; Gilgiti Shina: khutún šaróo ‘full autumn’, the first component often being a unique lexical unit) and the presence of cross-cutting pro-categories, reflecting multiple deictic contrasts (Kohistani Shina (Schmidt and Kohistani 2008, 97–98): paár ajóo ‘over there where I point’, paár adí ‘right over there’, paár asdí ‘right over there somewhere’, pér adí ‘over there (near, known but invisible)’, pér asdí ‘over there (out of sight)’; Kashmiri (Koul 2003, 914): kūtāh ‘how much?’, yūtāh ‘this much’, hūtāh ‘that much (within sight)’, tˈūtāh that much (out of sight)’).
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Split, 2013. 213-214 p.