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Gender typology and gender (in)stability in Hindu Kush Indo-Aryan languages
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3907-0930
2019 (English)In: Grammatical gender and linguistic complexity: Volume I: General issues and specific studies / [ed] Francesca di Garbo, Bruno Olson, Bernhard Wälchli, Berlin: Language Science Press, 2019, p. 279-328Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the phenomenon of gender as it appears in 25 Indo-Aryan languages (sometimes referred to as “Dardic”) spoken in the Hindu Kush-Karakorum region – the mountainous areas of northeastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and the disputed territory of Kashmir. Looking at each language in terms of the number of genders present, to what extent these are sex-based or non-sex-based, how gender relates to declensional differences, and what systems of assign-ment are applied, we arrive at a micro-typology of gender in Hindu Kush Indo-Aryan, including a characterization of these systems in terms of their general com-plexity. Considering the relatively close genealogical ties, the languages display a number of unexpected and significant differences. While the inherited sex-based gender system is clearly preserved in most of the languages, and perhaps even strengthened in some, it is curiously missing altogether in others (such as in Kalasha and Khowar) or seems to be subject to considerable erosion (e.g. in Dameli). That the languages of the latter kind are all found at the northwestern outskirts of the Indo-Aryan world suggests non-trivial interaction with neighbouring languages without gender or with markedly different assignment systems. In terms of com-plexity, the southwestern-most corner of the region stands out; here we find a few languages (primarily belonging to the Pashai group) that combine inherited sex-based gender differentiation with animacy-related distinctions resulting in highly complex agreement patterns. The findings are discussed in the light of earlier obser-vations of linguistic areality or substratal influence in the region, involving Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, Tibeto-Burman, Turkic languages and Burushaski. The present study draws from the analysis of earlier publications as well as from en-tirely novel field data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Language Science Press, 2019. p. 279-328
Series
Studies in Diversity Linguistics, E-ISSN 2363-5568 ; 26
Keywords [en]
Afghanistan, animacy, complexity, Dardic, gender pervasiveness, Indo-Aryan, Kashmir, non-sex-based gender, Pakistan, sex-based gender
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-175443DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3462772ISBN: 978-3-96110-179-5 (print)ISBN: 978-3-96110-178-8 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-175443DiVA, id: diva2:1366038
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-631Available from: 2019-10-28 Created: 2019-10-28 Last updated: 2019-11-03Bibliographically approved

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