Himalayas språkliga förhistoria i nytt ljus

Tidsperiod: 2021-01-01 till 2023-12-31

Projektledare: Anju Saxena

Medarbetare: Lars Borin, Bernard Comrie

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 3 874 000 SEK

Sino-Tibetan (ST) is one of the largest language families on earth, second only to Indo-European (IE) in number of speakers. However, when it comes to our basic facts about ST – how many languages there are and how they are related to each other – our knowledge is much more fragmentary than for some other language families, and scholars disagree both about the primary genealogical divisions of ST and its lower-level subbranches.This project aims at advancing our knowledge about the prehistory of the West(ern) Himalayish (WH) lower-level branch of ST: about 15  languages, spoken in the Himalayas (in India and Nepal) in a 500x200 km area of rugged mountainous terrain, side by side with languages belonging to the Indo-Aryan (IA) branch of IE and ST languages belonging to other subbranches of ST (e.g., Tibetic).We aim at filling some of the numerous gaps in our knowledge about the genealogical composition of ST, as well as contributing to the ongoing discussion among ST scholars concerning the role of language contact in shaping the typological profile of ST. This will be done by conducting a fine-grained morpho-syntactic investigation in 24 languages of this region, combining the well-established historical-comparative method and cutting-edge large-scale computational methods. While the focus of this project is on languages and linguistics, insights from other research fields such as history, archeology, religious studies and population genetics will also be included.