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Burushaski An Extraordinary Language in the Karakoram Mountains Dick Grune, dick@cs.vu.


Introduction Bur shaski (stress on the second syllable) is spoken by some fifty thousand people in northern Pakistan, the Hunzakuts, who live in the valleys of the Hunza and Yasin rivers (north of Gilgit) where these cut through the Karakoram Range [lit.ref. 5]. The language is not obviously related to any of the surrounding languages: the Indic languages of Pakistan or the Tibetan languages of China and northern Kashmir. Although Burushaski has been compared to almost any language on earth, no fully convincing relationships have yet been established. Modern taxonomic methods are, however, beginning to yield results. Ruhlen (1989) [lit.ref. 7] still classified Burushaski as a language isolate: ‘its genetic affiliation remains a complete mystery’ (p. 126), but Ruhlen (1992) [lit.ref. 7] reports on a possible classification of Burushaski as a separate ˇ branch of a newly proposed Den -Caucasian superstock. More recently, Blazek and Bengtson (1995) [lit.ref. 8] list tens of etymologies relating Burushaski to the Yeniseian languages, spoken by a hundred people along the Yenisei river in Siberia. Where appropriate, we have included these etymolgies in this survey. These etymologies are not (yet) supported by full reconstructions; to emphasize their tentative nature, we show them between square brackets. The proposed Dene-Caucasian superstock comprises Basque, the North-Caucasian languages, Burushaski, the Yeniseian languages and the Sino-Tibetan languages in Eurasia, and the Na-Den (Atabaskan) languages in North America. Blazek and Bengtson [lit.ref. 8] list 219 etymologies, some very convincing, others less so, to ˇ establish its existence. The group is estimated to have a time depth of more than 10000 years, and is thought to represent some (or perhaps all) of the "old languages" of Eurasia. Burushaski exists in two dialectal variants, Hunza and Y sin (= Werchikw r), spoken in their respective river valleys; both rivers run north-south from the Karakoram Range the Hunza about a hundred kilometers east of the Yasin and flow into the Gilgit river. The differences between them seem smaller than those between the London and Liverpool variants of English (but larger than those between British and American English). Speakers of Hunza and Yasin Burushaski have little difficulty understanding each other. For an impression of the differences, see the chapter ‘Numerals: Hunza Burushaski and Yasin Burushaski compared’. Lorimer [lit.ref. 4] contains extensive comparisons. This survey is based on Yasin Burushaski, mainly because for this variant the most modern material is available [lit.ref. 1,2,3]. From the sometimes hesitant nature of the reports and from the differences between them it seems doubtful that together they describe the grammar of Burushaski completely, and it is obvious that the dictionaries are far from complete. The definitive work on Burushaski has not yet been written and much research remains to be done. Although many adult speakers of Burushaski also speak Khowar, Shina or Urdu, Burushaski is the normal means of communication in both the Hunza and the Yasin valleys; it was and still is the carrier of a vigorous story-telling culture. Burushaski is not an endangered language. Until recently, Burushaski was not a written language and original historical material is very scarce. Some texts have been written down by native speakers at the request of researchers; these texts are in the Urdu variant of the Arabic/Persian script. Lorimer [lit.ref. 4], part 2, contains many texts in the International Phonetic Alphabet. Berger [lit.ref. 1] and Tiffou [lit.ref. 2] supply more than a hundred pages of text in romanization; we will use almost the same romanization in this survey. With the advent of the Karakoram Highway along the Hunza valley, the Hunzakut society has opened up, and literature is now being written in Burushaski [lit.ref. 5]. Due to external influences, more than half the present-day Burushaski vocabulary is of Urdu, Khowar and Shina origin (Khowar and Shina are two Northern Indic (Dardic) languages, closely related to Kashmiri and, somewhat further away, to Hindi/Urdu). It is the rest of its vocabulary and its structure that make Burushaski a language isolate. There are perhaps half a dozen loans from Turkish and one or two from the Tibetan language Balti, spoken on the other side of the Karakoram range.
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plus a number of composite conjugations. Turkish or Finnish. The great majority of Burushaski vowels is short. dh.like English sh j . i. n = him-of = his. n. jh) and the retroflex n (n) are missing. since there is a phonetic change. It is possible that the frequent combination -ltshould be considered as a single consonant.. hot.e. etc.retroflex j · Figure 2 — Sibilants in sets of three c ´ .e. of these three it is most reminiscent of Turkish in its structure.= to go.as in French quand kh . w.English ts s . voiced) t . Burushaski is not much weirder than Latin. j into ´. gh.like English ch s ´ . Occasionally an unstressed vowel is found to be long. the sibilants (s-like sounds) in Figure 2.as in English pair (i. except that the voiced aspirates (bh. Burushaski has the usual five vowels a.. the difference between e and i tends to disappear. as in Spanish In some words that start with h. but often almost voiceless. bell. It has two or three cases for the nouns (see below) and a small number of locative suffixes.as in English l . aspirated) b . but stressed vowels can be long. o. hit. that is. The plosives are shown in Figure 1.e. as it does between o and u.as in English can’t g .as in French tant th .retroflex d · k .the Arabic qof .-2- General Structure and Phonetic Features For all its romantic and exotic associations.e. This arrangement in groups of three is significant in the language. especially before t r .English s z . Most consonants in Burushaski come in groups of three: · · voiceless. γ into q.as in French p re (i.rolled. If the first syllable is unstressed. aspirated and voiced.as in German. For one situation in which hardening occurs. y .English z c . the vowel in it tends to disappear at all: Berger writes cer .retroflex th · d .. as they would in Hindi.as in English bear (i. Tiffou writes cr  ¤  ¤ © ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ c .. unstressed they sound like the English vowels in but. as in many Amerind languages.the h hardens to -k-. m. dh. and its sentence structure is similar to that of Turkish but much simpler.as in English gone q x γ . In unstressed position. a long vowel is marked by a circumflex – ˆ by Berger and more scientifically but less conveniently by a macron by Tiffou.as in English tan d .a voiced version of x Figure 1 — Plosives in sets of three ¨ ¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥¦¥   ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¦¥ Phonetic features The consonant system of Burushaski is rather similar to that of Hindi/Urdu. see under ‘Negation’ c below. or at least to have the (Italian) sound of a stressed vowel. called ‘hardening’. The other consonants are: h. with the tongue curled back) · th .retroflex t (i. p .as in English Dan t . which turns the third consonant of each group into the first (and which does not affect the others). ng. and u. voiceless) ph . it has essentially one conjugation for the verb.retroflex ´ c · s .as in Scottish loch .retroflex ´ s · j . Berger writes g smu = of a woman where Tiffou writes g smo.like English j ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ . Its most remarkable features are that it has four genders for the nouns and that the indications of the object of the verb are the same as those for possession on the noun: ‘I hit him’ is expressed roughly as ‘I do his hitting’. e. b turns into p. We use the circumflex: ne = he. Stressed they sound like their Italian counterparts. and put.

analogous to h r-e = man-of = of a man from hir = man. Also. of course). etc. all nouns referring to human females are hf. however. Concerning the Burushaski Noun Nouns are classified into four categories.ref. all animals are x and almost all materials and abstracta are y.part expresses nearness and the rest (-n . Stress is indicated by an acute mark (´) on the vowel. Another. In addition to these composite long vowels. similar to the genders in German or Latin. For concrete non-animate things. and bay = lump of rock salt is x. -t ) expresses the gender. -s . and that long vowels result only from two equal short vowels running together. foreign loans and onomatopoeic words can also contain long vowels. small plants are divided 50-50 over x and y.g. In total this gives us the following classification: Class hm hf x y Description human males human females animals and countable objects materials and abstracta Singular n m s t Plural w w c k  ©    ¡   The class of a noun shows up in many conjugations and declensions. Indeed n = his can be interpreted as n -e = he-of. except in words of one syllable which always carry stress. though. the situation is less clear.        . feminine. First there are a number of words that can be both x and y. Since the nature of a Burushaski vowel is determined by four factors. that of uncountable things ‘y’.l (x) = intestines of living animals and . often through the presence of a specific consonant associated with the class. not ‘kre-’!). etc. o. with the expected difference in meaning: bay = salt is y. Many nouns and verbs require a prefix and/or a suffix and may then require the stress to be on either of them. u).= to type (lit. stress and length. a similar set exists for the plural. the criteria for the classification are somewhat different. 6] marks all stressed vowels as long. All nouns referring to human males are hm. This is comparable to Dutch de doek = the cloth. skil = my face. the material. the word ‘Burushaski’ is often pronounced ‘Br shaski’. Third. Especially. balt = apple. Many other examples of this phenomenon can be found in this and other texts. Something similar happens with fruits: balt = apple is x (as expected). These nouns and verbs are shown in the dictionary with the acute mark on the hyphen before or after the word: an entry ´skil = face means that the word skil = face requires a (possessive) prefix which will carry the stress. ran = cream is x. the human class is split into masculine and feminine: ‘hm’ and ‘hf’. somewhat amusing fact is that female spirits and fairies are hf. and neuter. a complicated picture emerges that is interpreted somewhat differently by the different authors. colour (what was called Italian versus English above). -m . but the same word balt = apple tree is y. an example is ´ p t. examples of uncountable things are cel = water. the rag versus het doek = the cloth. An example of this phenomenon is:    khen khom gus gut   - this (man here) this (woman here) this (animal or thing here) this (material here)     in which the kh-/gu. In general. daγ m = flour. i. Stress is fairly prominent. more so than in Italian but less than in English. the human class is called ‘h’ and the non-human countable class ‘x’ (all humans are countable. is y. for convenience these consonants are given in the columns ‘Singular’ and ‘Plural’. Examples of countable things are hir = man. as if apple trees were a continuous material from which apples are the lump-like manifestation.g. ji = life/soul. although it is countable and not a material. It would seem that the original Burushaski vocabulary has no long vowels. Another glimpse at the underlying difference between x and y is given by . although is an abstract. e.. to c do "chahp"). The first and most important distinction is between countable and uncountable. and n us = stinginess is x. but all other positions are possible. [Yeniseian has t l = intestine. its normal position is on the second syllable (as in Bur shaski). e. The classification is based on three distinctions. but male jinns and monsters are x rather than hm. the above classification is more in accordance with reality than that of the Latin nouns in masculine. Xud = God is hm. huk = dog. position (a. The group of countable things is called ‘hx’. e. nor abstract.] ¸ Some gender assignations are not so easily explained: ha = house. for reasons that will become clear in the next paragraph.-3¡ (pronounce ‘tsre-’. The second distinction is that countable things are divided in human and non-human. there are no ‘small’ unstressed words such as the English an in Burushaski.l (y) = intestines of dead animals. though. although it is a material and not countable. The Burushaski language section of the Lonely Planet Walking Guide "Trekking in the Karakoram and Hindukush" [lit.

] The way the -u is connected to the noun for hx words depends on the final letter of the word. This suggests that the real meaning of a plural like haγ ra is ‘group of horses’ rather than just ‘horses’. . which is called ‘suppletion’. is rare in Burushaski. celm ng = gushes of water. however. s c Almost all endings are preceded by the hf indicator -mu.]                                   . thus supplying two pieces of information for the price of one. The main difference between the case endings and the pseudo-case endings is that at least one of the first group occurs in every sentence. Hunza Burushaski has no suppletion is this case: das n = girl.. This phenomenon.. The noun form consists of two parts: the noun part and the endings part. A noun form normally has only one stressed syllable. my. some noun forms are so long as to have two stressed syllables and are then considered two separate words. das wanc = girls. The noun part contains in order: possibly the owner (i. The plural is formed in quite a diverse number of ways and is treated in the next paragraph. and some two hundred nouns do not fall under these rules. celm ngek = several gushes of water. its use is equivalent to that in English: haγ ra = the horses(x). p qumu = loaves. Number Nouns can be singular in number. those in -n have the -n replaced by -yu: du´m n = s enemy. and s sek = groups of people. asq ring = flowers. There are many particulars. [Burushaski gus = woman may be related to Yeniseian qos = witch. ses = a group of people. We shall now look at each of the above components.in hf words. d sti´u = friends. his. unsurprisingly: ´ pi = pliers.e. followed by the stem of the noun. Words ending in a vowel get -mu: p qu = loaf. followed by a number indicator. as explained above: asq r = flower. The meaning of the indefinite is ‘some not yet mentioned X’ and it is used to introduce new topics: Hen h ren bam. starting with the number indicator. An example of a two-word noun form is: ´ hare gand ´i = for the c s c benefit of the town. Figure 3 shows some examples which will give an impression of the variety (in addition to the haγ ra = horses shown above). those in -s have the -s replaced by -´u: gil s = drinking glass (from s s English). Words of the y class can also have plurals. which consists of c a-r n-´i-a = my-hand-in-towards. . plural or grouped. c c In both classes there are irregular plurals by the dozens.-4- Noun forms Nouns in Burushaski are used in noun forms. or a pseudo-case ending. oblique or genitive). your. Another example is s sen = some person. = one man-some was. . it often corresponds to a noun phrase in English: ‘in my hand’. as it is in English (I go versus I went is an example).. gil ´u = drinking glasses. The simple form of the word indicates the singular: haγ r = the horse(x). etc. and the rest gets -i´u: d st = friend. if applicable.. ´ ping = pairs of pliers. [Yeniseian nouns have a plural in -ng and a collective plural in -n. s s s Words of the y class get -ing. The ending part is either a case ending (absolutive. which get -ng. which consists of ´ har-e gand -´i = town-of benefit-in. The indefinite is formed by suffixing -en to h nouns and -an to xy nouns (compare the h and xy forms of the word for ‘one’ under Numerals): haγ ran = horse-some(x) = some horse.nc. except those ending in -i. optionally followed by a direction ending.. ‘for the benefit of the town’. indefinite. Since the plural is difficult to predict and since the plural ending almost always tells you if a word is class x or class y (hm and hf are never a problem).). du´m yu = enemies. A noun form tells something about the function of the noun in the sentence. The group plural (also called ‘double plural’) is formed by adding -ek to the singular or plural of the word: haγ rek = groups of horses(x). . or a location ending. the dictionary gives the plural of each word.. We see that the plural of das n = girl is a word totally unrelated to das n (although it is clearly related to gus = woman).. the regular plural ending for hx words is -u and that for y words is -ing. = Once upon a time there was a man. even if they denote materials: cel = water. The plural Very broadly speaking. An example of a noun form is ar n´a = into my hand. hx words of one syllable get .

as in many American Indian languages (for instance Navaho and Hopi.g. Direction The possessor of a noun is expressed by putting a form of the personal pronoun before the noun.neighbour · hal . as it is in English: my foot. The Type I words come in two varieties.fox ha . for good measure: j ar n = of-me my-hand. So. Figure 4 shows the various forms of the possessive pronoun prefixes in Burushaski. the latter are called ‘inalienable’.gushes of water . Location. and certainly all foreign words can occur without a possessor. but also in many.house cel .foxes hak ´ang . but there the similarity ends. after all there is a word ren from -r n = hand. but most family relations and body parts require a possessor upon each and every use. but it means ‘his hand’ rather than ‘hand’.   ©  haγ haγ haγ haγ r r r r - ¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥  Figure 3 — Examples of plurals Possessive/Experiencer Type II g m m m           of-me horse = my horse of-you horse = your horse of-him horse = his horse of-her horse = her horse ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ©  Figure 4 — The personal pronoun prefixes ©    we you they (hmf) they (x) they (y) mimauu[i-] m m -    © © © person I you he (hm) she (hf) it (x) it (y) ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ Type I agu[i-] mu[i-] [i-] Type III g m -             Class hm hf hf h x y y ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ Singular hir .women s gu´ ngia . a few get Type II and only two get Type III.    - my hand your hand his hand her hand skil g skil skil m skil - my face your face his face her face    j g n m etc. etc. will answer ar n = my-hand or gur n = your-hand. ´skil (y) = face).houses c celm ng .g.:   Most of the inalienable words get Type I prefixes. ¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥¥ There are two types of nouns in Burushaski with respect to possession: those that can occur without a possessor and those that cannot.is almost universally left out (indicated by the square brackets in Figure 4). Words that do not require a possessor can be given a possessor by putting the genitive of the corresponding pronoun (see Figure 5) in front of the word.is also often omitted. the hyphen before it shows that this word always requires a possessor and that there is in reality no word for just ‘hand’.woman das n .girls s gam i´u (´. Often the genitive of the pronoun is put before these forms. much like the English my. asked ‘What is the word for “hand”’.man gus .-5- Possession. Most words. -r n (y) = hand) and those that have the stress on the prefix (e.neighbours c c · halj .is normally omitted. The unstressed i. A speaker of Burushaski.men gu´ nga . Although the dictionary says that the word for ‘hand’ is -r n. n ren = of-him his-hand. those that have the stress on the word itself (e. ©       ar n gur n ren mur n etc. depending on where you point. your.girl gam ic . many others). not c!) . the unstressed u. So we get   Note that we have ren = his hand.water Plural hur (also hur kia) . since the unstressed i. rather than ir n.

and the oblique is not. This yields forms like skus = my-mother-in-law. Type II prefixes always carry the stress. j un n m s t gen. Another is that the genitive of you is g and the oblique is un (see Figure 5). The word ´ya is also used in a number of idiomatic expressions. . What the meaning of this infix would be is unknown. and in the plural: haγ ra = horses. To emphasize ownership. but lengthens stressed vowels. the left ones are the more usual ones. oblique and genitive. examples are shown in Figure 6.for hf words in the singular. so the impression may easily arise that there are only two cases. and Lorimer · [lit. The forms separated by / are alternative forms. and that the -a. as can be seen in the last example in Figure 6.-6- A very probable theory says that Type II words were originally Type I words that started with a short -a-.· A A The two nouns that get Type III endings are -skir = father-in-law and -skus = mother-in-law. 1] uses a hyphen with a dot on top: -cu which is difficult to distinguish from ´. in which the Type III has been indicated by a small capital A over the hyphen. The absolutive has no ending. gu. for example: ya bi . but the forms of the oblique and the genitive are almost always the same.it is mine my-own it-is ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥   Case Case endings There are three cases: absolutive. The third person pronouns double as articles.has become assimilated to the Type I prefixes to form the Type II prefixes. One difference between them is that the genitive -e is preceded by the hf indicator -mu. and ’u..ref. ku = you for Burushaski un. When case endings are added to a compound consisting of more than one noun. ne hir = the man. ´ya = own can be used: ya ha = my own house. Basing oura selves on this theory.ref. only the noun gets the ending -e: ne    ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ © © Figure 5 — The personal pronouns !  © © !  © © we you they (hmf) they (x) they (y) mi ma we/u ce ke m m w /u c k m m w /u c k   ©  © ©  ©  © © person I you he (hm) she (hf) it (x) it (y) ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ ¥¥ abs. Many additional examples that follow the above rules can be found among the pronouns shown in Figure 5. This is one of the most convincing correspondences. and the oblique and the genitive are both marked by an ending -e. [Yeniseian has ’aj = I for Burushaski ja. so with this word we get: cu · g cu · cu · m cu · etc.] The -e disappears after unstressed final vowels. only the last noun gets the endings. both in the singular: hir = a man. resp. through an infix -s. One can suppose that these words derive from hir = man and gus = woman.      - my brother/sister your brother/sister his brother her sister · (Berger [lit. All this shows that the oblique and the genitive are indeed different cases. we mark the hyphen before the Type II words with a small a: -cu = sibling of the same · sex (brother/sister). older material and some frozen expressions suggest that the genitive ending was -o in the past. In the oblique.which produces hardening of the following consonant. ja un ne mo se te obl. Also. 4] writes the hypothetical a (´aco for Hunza Burushaski) but the word does not really occur in this form). ce haγ ra = the horses. j g n m s t .

with (= by using) · and two direction endings: -a (-γa after vowels) .the man (oblique) mo gus muy ci saw the woman (absolutive) mo g se . and that the verb -y cwhich the dictionary says means ‘to see’ actually means ‘to be seen’.-7- hire = the man (oblique).for hf words in the singular. Examples are: . preceded by the hf indicator -mu. Location and direction endings There are three location endings: -´i c . The location ending -ce lengthens a preceding stressed vowel. Figure 7 shows some examples. The ending -ce has no direct English equivalent and often · requires a special translation. And in mo g se ne hir y cu = the woman (oblique) saw the man (absolutive).from Each of these can be used as is. the final -u on y cu = him-saw-she is in accordance with the hf nature of mo g se = the woman (oblique). The absolutive is used for the subject of the intransitive verb and for the object of the transitive verb. where the location endings come first and lose their final vowel.to. In other words. These endings are. which is why different terminology is used.in -ce . near. but the final -i in ne h re mo gus muy ci = the man (oblique) saw the woman (absolutive) indicates again an hm subject but derives from the oblique form ne h re = the man (oblique). no -mu with plural -e disappears stressed . as in:               ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥   the dog and the cat huk ka bu´ s huk ka b ´e s huk ka b ´e s Figure 6 — Examples of case endings       my brother my sister ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ ¥ cu · cu · cu · cu · cu · cumu · man speaking woman speaking -e to last noun only           a horse horses a cow haγ r haγ ra bi haγ re haγ ra bi haγ re haγ ra bi              Noun a man a woman some man some woman women Absolutive hir gus h ren g sen gu´ nga s Oblique h re g se h rene g sene gu´ nga s Genitive h re g smu h rene g senmu gu´ nga s Comment -e disappears indefinite number -mu with indef.the woman (oblique) ne hir y cu saw the man (absolutive) Now it would be tempting to say that Burushaski just has subject and object reversed. the final -i indicates an hm subject and derives from the absolute form hir = man (absolute). attached/pressed to the outside of -yate . the oblique is used for the subject of the transitive verb only. the absolutive indicates the ‘experiencer’ and the oblique the ‘actor’ of an event. like all endings except the oblique e. but this is incorrect: the verb’s ending is determined in each case by the real subject of the sentence! In ne hir w li = the man (absolutive) fell. This is profoundly different from the nominativeaccusative scheme Europeans (except the Basques!) are used to.the man (absolutive) fell ne hir w li ne h re . -´i c and -yate do not.at.lengthened . or be combined with one of the other group. towards -um .on.

corresponding to English structures like ‘on account of’. ´u = good is an example: s                       s ´u s ´u hir . . of which we will only mention -ule = at (at a certain time): te g ncule = that day-at = at that day. We have already seen ´ hare gand ´i = town-of benefit-in = for the benefit of the s town.a good man (hm singular) b lti´u . but when used predicatively (in a statement) it is used as a noun: se haγ r ´u n s bi = this horse a-good-one is = this horse is good. which we have seen above. Quite a number of adjectives have different forms for singular. hx plural and y plural. It may be used attributively (directly with the noun). s which can either be interpreted as ‘people from town’ (case ending) or ‘town people’ (adjective).He knows more than I do.red apples (x plural) (the word balt = apple is irregular too. And then there are dozens of compound endings. next (that(y)-with) · Figure 7 — Examples of location endings . ··  Pseudo-case endings and composite noun forms There are two or three other less frequent case endings. as in se ´u s haγ r = this good horse.good kinds of apples (x double plural) s Comparison Comparison (‘more’) is expressed with the location ending -cum = from in the following way: J cum n but hem b i.a red apple (x singular) b rju balt . your-you-at-from) for her (with inserted -mu-) from my sister (with inserted -mu-) to town from town out of my hand (my-hand-in-from) on a stone / with a stone down from the house (house-on-from) from day to day (day-at-from day) -yate . But most have one form only. another is s nde it = river-of remote-side = at the other side of the river. The main property of adjectives in Burushaski which distinguishes them from nouns is that they may be used with different classes.  ©  ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ ¥¥  Form j γa j cum g gocum m muγa c ´umucum s ´ hara s ´ harum ar n´um c d nyate · h yatum · g nccum gunc t yate ·            ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ ¥¥ Ending -γa -cum -cum -γa -cum -a -um -´um c -yate · -yatum · -cum - for me from me (lengthened vowel) from you (irregular.around your waist ·· your-waist-(attached-to) a from -sting = waist (y plural). since it does not change its shape for the plural). Many Burushaski adjectives end in -um.his black hands (y plural) and some are irregular: b rdum balt .-8- g stingce . The nature of this relation may be shown by examples like ´ harum ses = town-from people. there is an adjective ´u = good. · me-from he much knowing is that is. which may be related to the ending -um = from. c ‘according to’. much along the same lines as nouns: mat m haγ r . Concerning Adjectives and Adverbs in Burushaski Adjectives behave to a large extent as nouns. but it is difficult to tell whether s it means ‘good’ or ‘a good person or thing’.then. ‘From me as a point of reference he knows much’. etc.black horses (x plural) s mat ming r ing .a black horse (x singular) mat mi´u haγ ra .

hither akh lum . Before we can present a paradigm.the best horse s all-from good horse that is. with the directional ending -a = towards.’) is equal to the root. and a consecutive stem. and that it has the stress on the first syllable.there t la . for a kind of infinitive of purpose: ta = in order to do it.the very best trousers · This expression looks remarkably like summa summorum.for present stem. but there are many more:   Strange Things about Verbs The bad news is that Burushaski has perhaps as many paradigms as Latin.swiftly Adverbs of place The adverbs of place in Burushaski come in three series. Whether this hybrid system is original to Burushaski or the result of external influences on an originally ergative system. quite reasonably: gat nc .for further away and one from t. a present stem. Therefore the paradigms can be given using any verb.from there it . The consecutive stem (used for such consecutive phrases as ‘He picked up his coat and . is unknown. Prefixes and suffixes Whereas active languages distinguish subject and object and ergative languages have actors and experiencers.for ‘at the other side’. ‘to do γas p’) · . and the present stem is c c ´-. and that of t. In ‘I fell’. ‘I’ is the actor/subject and ‘her’ is the             akh .modifies this consonant s c c according to a complicated set of rules.thither t lum .. but the good news is that they are much more regular. with hardening and shifted stress. verb a paradigms are shown for the verb -t. the good horse’. etc. to avoid problems. It is used for the past tenses but also for other purposes. The past stem is the unadorned root of the verb..= to throw a s y object is thus p ´a-. regardless of where it is in the root.quick s u . ‘to come’ and ‘to go’. the book of books. we will discuss the d-verbs.to sweep the floor (lit.to over there tum . and it is the one given in the dictionary. we show here the basic forms plus those with the simple direction endings.= to do it (y). the experiencer is the subject of the intransitive verb and the object of the transitive verb. the dictionary gives the present stem for each verb in addition to the past stem. Burushaski has subjects. the t is absorbed into the -´-. the consecutive.= to do.from here    to . both by Lorimer and Berger). The consecutive stem of bi´ . the actual form used is t..quickly · An unexpected source of adverbs are the composite verbs (explained below): £         s ´u cum ´u s  γas p · γas p ·   t. Traditionally. In the verb t. ‘from all. in ‘I saw her’. and. and those that exist are not derived from the corresponding adjective: hum lkum . as described in the section on phonetic features.= to do it (y). As we have seen. the actor is the subject of the transitive verb.here akh la . the imperative and negation.from over there    . there are no really irregular verbs. except that its initial consonant is hardened. And the English expression ‘the very best’ is rendered as ‘the good of good’. one derived from akh . ‘I’ is the experiencer/subject. the -´. But if the root ends in a consonant. (that is.over there ta .for close proximity.= to do it (y) is an unchanged ts since it has neither an initial consonant nor shiftable stress. actors and experiencers. we first have to discuss two features of the Burushaski verb – its three stems and its prefix and suffix scheme. Except for the verbs ‘to be’. The present stem is in principle derived from the root (past stem) by suffixing -´: bi´ . Since it requires an experiencer (a ‘possessor’).-9- For the superlative (‘most’) comparing to khul = all is used: kh lcum ´u haγ r . one from t . After these and the paradigms. The three stems The Burushaski verb has three stems – a past stem. Adverbs There are very few adverbs in Burushaski.= to throw a y c s object has bi´ ´. for instance for the imperative.

I did it scuma .he tu . since it is the actor. we can now turn to the actual paradigms.. The Past III is used for side issues...= to do it (y) is the experiencer prefix of class y. · · that time-at camels(x) very expensive were-as-you-should-know(x) (Past III). the full intransitive verb form consists of experiencer-prefix experiencer-prefix + verb + subject-suffix (subject=experiencer) + verb + subject-suffix (subject=actor)  and the full transitive verb form consists of The forms are structurally the same.not used otherwise. Note that the .she ti . This is an example of a long unstressed vowel.they (hf) timi .. unsurprisingly. which. we present here the paradigm for the Past I tense.it (y)  "©  "©  "©  "©  "©  "  "©  "© j un n m s t ta . This takes some getting used to. In ja a-w l-a = I (abs. Almost all verb forms have an experiencer prefix and a subject suffix.he tumu . .they (hm) ten .sts-’!):    "!  "    "  Again the x plural form is unexpected. Note that c = they (x) has timi rather than temen. Almost the same endings are used for the Past III tense.sc.we did indeed do it temen . since it is the experiencer. = Now. In j mu-y c-a = I (obl.. . · · that time-at camels(x) very expensive were(x) (Past I) = At that time camels were very expensive.it (y) m m w w c k t t t t t t scemen .in the previous endings:  "!  "  "  The Past II emphasizes the fact that it happened more than the happening itself.it (x) ti .they (hm) temen .) my-fell-I = I fell. side lines in the story: Te zaman ule ut nc but qaim t bi n. is based on the past stem:  "!  "  "   Where there is a Past I tense.we did it scumen .they(x) (!) scimi .she timi .I did it ta .it (y) m m w w c k ten .you timi . One can easily imagine that t scam = I did it is composed of ta scam in which ta is the infinitive to do it and scam is the first person singular of some auxiliary verb sc.she scimi .designates me as the experiencer and the suffix -a designates me at the same time as the subject. in which the (past) stem is immediately followed by . ja in the first sentence is in the absolutive. the prefix mu.. Its endings are formed by inserting an -m.they (hf) ten . as in the previous example.designates her as the experiencer and the suffix -a designates me as the subject. Te zaman ule ut nc but qaim t bi n scimi.I did indeed do it tuma .you all temen . but the interpretation of the subject suffix differs. Also.) her-saw-I = I saw her.you ti .it (x) timi . The translation with ‘indeed’ gives the idea.they (y)      .10 - experiencer/object. at that time camels were very expensive.he scumu .you all ten .you all scumen .they (hf) scimien . we shall translate them as possessive in the literal translations.you scimi .it (x) scimi .they (x) (!) timi . the prefix a. where the first is part of the main story and the second is side information. and j in the second is in the oblique.they (y) m m w w c k temen .we did it ten .they (x) ti .they (hm) scumen .in t. the Past II tense cannot be far. The paradigms To show the subject endings of the verb..(pronounced ‘.they (y)    "©  "©  "©  "© ©   "©  "  "©  "© j un n m s t tam . but is too heavy. With all this out of the way. To summarize. The experiencer prefixes are the same as the possessive prefixes. to emphasize this fact. The same Past II endings with the present stem provide the future (rather than the present) tense:                       "©  "©  "©  "©      "©  "  "©  "© j un n m s t t t t t t t scam . . since the stress remains on the verb: t-.

as seen in the Past I tense of the verb -m n.= to be exists in the present tense only (if the above forms indeed represent the present tense of ba-).he looked at her . as with intransitive verbs.they (hf) um nen .11 - Again note an unexpected form.you all looked at us And when the experiencer is the subject.she bi .I had been sitting I having-been-sitting-I was mo hur tum bum .you all ban .he mum nu . and is also different in other respects. Examples are ja hur tam bam . tum = having done it (all other persons).he (!) bu . ´am = doing it (I or we). simple in that the verb forms consist of one word.she had been sitting she having-been-sitting(hf) was(hf) Note the interesting and quite logical difference in meaning between         "©  "©  "©  "©    "©  "  "©  "© j un n m s t c ´am c ´um c ´um c ´um c ´um c ´um ba .= to be.they (hf) bi n ..it (x) du . the prefix and the ending move in unison. The similarity to the -um endings of many adjectives may be significant. this time for mi = we.it (x) m ni . x plural (bi m) and y plural (bic m).they (hf) c ´imi .we became mam nen . but differs for hf (bum).they (y)   . c c There are many combinations of these participles with tenses of ba.they (hm) ban .they (x) c ´imi . When the experiencer (object) is not hmxy.= he/it (hmxy) is the experiencer prefix.= to be. the prefix changes and we seem to get a different verb.it (y) (!) m m w w c k c ´am c ´um c ´um c ´um c ´um c ´um ban . but that is just our outlook: n ja phut ti · he(actor) me glance my-did-he n mo phut m ti · m ne phut tu · m mi phut m ten · etc. s except that the participle ending for the first persons singular and plural is -am: tam = having done it (I or we). of which we show here the present:  "!  "  "  Again the unexpected forms are marked with an exclamation mark.).he looked at me .I became gum na .she m ni .you m ni .I am doing it ba . to produce a fourth tense – the present or a second future perhaps – but this combination does not exist.you c ´imi .she looked at him .she c ´imi . Its form is normally bam = having been (.I will do it c ´uma . The compound tenses are formed by using the past or present participle with forms of the verb ba. The present participle is derived in the same way from the present stem: bi´ m = throwing a y c object). but we have to keep in mind that the a verb is actually -t.we are doing it ban . The past participle is derived from the past stem by adding -m after vowels (bi´ m = having thrown a y object)..they (y)    "!  "  "©  "©  "©  "©  "   "©  "  "©  "© j un n m s t c ´am .= to do and that the .he c ´umu . x (bim).it (x) c ´imi .      © ©   . which is used alone and in combination with other participles to express compound past tenses..it (y) mi ma we we ce ke mim nen .it (y) m m w w c k c ´an . and -um after consonants. The verb ba.you all um nen .they (hm) c ´emen . The above paradigms may give the impression that the verb is t-.we will do it (!) c ´emen .they (x) m ni .you b i .you all c ´emen . in addition there is a past participle. Now one would expect the fourth combination. the Past I endings with the present stem. but unlike these adjectives the participle does not have plural forms.= to become:     Compound tenses The above are the ‘simple’ tenses. y (dul m).they (x) (!) bic .they (y) (!)             ja un ne mo se te am na .they (hm) um nen . ´um = doing it (all other persons).

in which the infix is -u´ and stress falls on the root:   ja ne mo mi d wasa d wasi dum wasu dim wasen - I stayed behind he stayed behind she stayed behind we stayed behind     .. phut and ´ p above.= to do it(y). possibly with a prefix.before its verb forms.= to become: a phat -t. as we have seen.12 - tum b i . untruths) D-verbs The above forms are those of about half the Burushaski verbs. As an exception.he was doing it it-doing he-was (while something else was going on) The present participle is considered by Burushaski speakers as ‘the verb itself’: asked for the Burushaski translation of ‘to fall’.s have a special form for the y experiencer. · Morin and Tiffou [lit. Compound verbs Although many verbs consist of a root.to get loose. and a copy of the vowel of the prefix is inserted if the d.: to do lies. We have already seen three examples: γas p t. very often a corresponding intransitive verb exists in which the t.to allow. to be left behind              Sometimes the word in front of the auxiliary verb is clearly a noun. If the verb is transitive. generally t.causes hardening of the consonant in the prefix. An example is d´was. compound verbs (not to be confused with compound tenses) and d-verbs. at least an equal number of verbs consist of a word followed by an auxiliary verb.to look at · c ´ p t. as we can see from: un duk wasa .. to abandon But in many cases the word only occurs in that specific verb and it is unclear what part of speech it is.to lie (lit. but it may also be onomatopoeic.= to do it(y) has been replaced by -m n..) More Kinds of Verbs The above straightforward simple verb is actually a minority in Burushaski. there are two other kinds of verbs..to sweep the floor · a phut -t.she was staying behind she d-her-staybehind-ing was-she (this is from the present stem d´wa´. as is the case with γas p. the speaker will answer wal´ m = falling. These forms are comparable in form and usage to the Japanese suru verbs: benkyoo suru = study do = to study. 3] relate ´ p to the English word type.he has done it (and now it’s finished) it-having-done he-is and c ´um bam . and I have occasionally translated phut by ‘glance’. which together are more numerous.= to stay behind). The d.ref.= to stay behind:   We see that the experiencer ‘prefix’ has now turned into an infix. c   ph ing  t.to type (on a typewriter) but many more exist.would otherwise collide with a consonant..you stayed behind The same insertion of the experiencer prefix occurs in the participles: mo d-um -wa´-um bum s . not a word in the language. the other half adds a d. but no such word exists. to abandon phat -m n..to allow. as in and the word phat = left-overs (y) may perhaps explain a phat -t. Γas p occurs also as an adverb with a vaguely related meaning c · · · (‘swiftly’). (It will be clear that the dictionary form -wal´ c cannot serve since it is a grammatical abstraction. most d-verbs that have pre/infixes .

s The various kinds of verbs reconsidered As we have seen.to make cold.13 - te γ ndes duw si .to give to drink .my foot itched ah tis d γami · my-foot d-to-me-my-itched but many occur in clusters. But these are general observations and no more than that. there are d-verbs and non-d verbs (2 kinds). So it would be nice if we could pinpoint what each of these features means. M. but that is easier said than done. When the verb does not carry an prefix.the gold (y) remained · Just as non-d verbs. such double prefixes have occasionally been reported for Hunza Burushaski ([lit. the prefix m . More Type II verbs than Type I verbs have a transitive or causative meaning. for instance d-γa.he drank wine n m muγa mel m meni .. More d-verbs than non-d verbs have a stative (describing a state) or passive meaning.      . mel = wine. and no combination is rare or special. A Some roots occur in one verb only.to frighten g r.cold d´´aγur.to drink . pour water on M. as in . 4].. All eight combinations exist.= to itch. and there are verbs without experiencer prefixes and with Type I.ref.ref.may be a double prefix. consisting of mo.. and then it may not.to have a colour a skir . page 211): Langabrumo Mal´u´o-mo muring-ete cil m etimi c c · L. 3] (page 24):           Gat nc mal m g rum bi n · Trousers (x plural) black colour-having are (x) = The trousers are black Mo g se gat nc mal m osk rum bu · The woman (hf) trousers (x) black their(x)-dying is (hf) = The woman dyes the trousers black [It may be significant that for Proto-Sino-Tibetan a system has been reconstructed in which d-. II and III prefixes.is the d.infix..’s hands where m etimi can well be seen as a combination of mo. Its use almost always involves at least an indirect object: men´ A -men   © ©         n mel men . II and III prefixes (4 kinds). her-hands-on water her-its-did-he = he made L.he gave her wine to drink he(actor) her-to wine her-caused-to-drink-he Here.to get cold (hx) -c du´ γur. But all this remains speculation.= her and a one-vowel prefix for the experiencer. which causes hardening: A X-cum -mal. since the word for ‘loose. slack’ is ´ qum. as in the verb do´ q.is a causative prefix.prefix + vowel.is prefixed.= her and timi = he did it. generally a vowel is added before the d. In fact.= s to slacken: se than u do´ qi . there exist d-verbs without experiencer prefixes. to cool Many real causatives have an -s.the rope (x) slackened s In this case we know that the do.to get cold (y) c ac d-´aγur. and with Type I. And many Type III verbs involve both a direct and an indirect object. b.to be afraid of X A smal.to dye A clear example of the use of the latter set is given by Morin and Tiffou [lit.] The situation with Type III verbs is perhaps a little clearer.and ware passive and stative prefixes and s.. of which a typical example is: c ´aγ rum .

· · = He went home and lay down to sleep that day..that day having-gone-to-sleep c (from gu´ ..= to go to sleep) c kunc t di .after having seen me nuk yec .ref. which gets the experiencer prefix inserted.rather than nu.having looked at me. .. but with a possible experiencer infix: se ´ mu d ´aγur .Inside-to having-gone (from gal´ = to go. = A valley-in having-gone .prefix): nuk ´a . which contains four consecutives: lji ni .= to see. So we get          γas p net . three more forms have to be explained.] The imperative As in many languages.14 - Consecutive.the-next-day having-got-up · · (from di ... c For non-d verbs it is formed by prefixing nu´ to the past stem without any ending. completely irregular) te bult nuk ´a ....= to do is n-t.having-gone-to-sleep c from gu´ .having looked at her. the imperative singular is equal to the root of the verb:                      "  # #   . otherwise the consecutive is the same for all persons. which has no counterpart in English. The ´ in the nu´ indicates that it causes a shift of the stress to the second syllable.the water (y) having got cold. very frequently in Burushaski.after having swept the floor. ..the fish (x) having got cold. If the verb has an experiencer prefix.is prefixed to form the consecutive: n yec .. This device allows the Burushaski speaker to squeeze in a lot of information. .) [Burushaski kunc t = the next day and gunc = day may be related to Yeniseian kans = yes· · terday. ...to-hunt went-he. c kunc t di ya tu q-ce n ya dar γa gal . taken (and simplified!) from [lit.. c If the verb starts with a vowel or has an experiencer prefix. .. Imperative and Negation To complete the picture of the Burushaski verb. this shows in the consecutive. In d-verbs it is the past stem without any ending.. a a from -y c. This nu´ also causes hardening of the initial consonant of the root (or of the go. took his rifle and went hunting. and Burushaski text is generally more compact than its English translation. It has the meaning of ‘after having done so and so’ or ‘when such and such state had arisen’.his rifle having-taken his-own rifle-with having-provided-himself (from X-ce -y .after having seen you num yec . The consecutive The next verb form to be discussed is the ‘consecutive’. / he saw her and .after having seen her .= to get up) ya tu q-ce n ya . the next day he got up.= to go to sleep (note the stress shift). (The next sentence in story V starts B rule ni .. · phut nom t . c c te cel du´ γur ... . story V: lji ni te bult nuk ´a. The consecutive of -t.. ... 1].. n.= to provide oneself with X) dar γa gal . · A typical example of the extent to which the consecutive is used is the following sentence. it is a kind of adverbial past participle and it is used very. · phut nat . ..

Just as the consecutive prefix nu´. also. .suppressed) he did not fall (i. . [Yeniseian has ’at = not.. if the verb has an experiencer prefix. although there is be = no and aw = yes.restored)  . · and a polite invitation is expressed by the second person future: Goh m γa m ltir´uma! c .Look at her! (to several people) · glance her-do-you-all There is also an imperative for the third person.Sweep the floor! · J γa te γ ndes bi´ ! .= to show.) The hardening of the consonant after a´ also extends to the d.Could you please sweep the floor.’ is not a reasonable thing to say. which is clearly derived from the negation a´ and bi = he/it (hmx) is through hardening. which ends in -is for the singular and in -isen for the plural · · hx.They should go. is kept:    In compound forms.of d-verbs: un duk wasa .Throw me the gold! s · me-to the gold throw The plural is formed by adding -ing: Phut m ting! . (Due to the irregularities of the verb ba.you have not fallen A form in which the final verb is negated exists. if it is related.. The consecutive cannot be negated: ‘after the water had not got cold. is ap = it (y) is not.Do show us your house! your-house us-to our-show-will-you A from -ltir. but has a completely different and idiomatic meaning: am tuk guw lum ap . the -i is dropped after a vowel. · A more polite imperative can be formed by adding the question particle -a after the form: Γas p t-a.] Noun forms from verbs By putting the ending -as after the past stem of a verb V.                  ja ja un un ne ne aw la ay wala guw la ak wala w la a wala - I fell (from -w l.this way you won’t fall now your-having-falling not-is in which guw lum = your-having-fallen acts as a noun as it does in English and ap = not-is-it(y) is a y form referring to the noun. ©     ©       Negation There is no word for ‘not’. Examples are: Til ay lis.15 - Γas p et! .which is normally left out.He should not forget it..and the -k. the final -t may even explain the hardening that the Burushaski a´ causes. . the negative prefix a´ moves the stress to the second syllable and causes hardening of the following consonant. . the negative of du = it (y) is (itself irregular).you have fallen ak walum ba . An example of the latter is c cenas = carpenter from c cen.you did not stay behind in which both the -t.= to be.= to fall) I did not fall (ay´ before vowel) you fell you did not fall (hardening and stress shift) he fell (i.= to work wood.you stayed behind un at kuwasa .] A sentence is negated by prefixing the verb form with a´ = not (ay´ before vowels). a noun or adjective is created that indicates someone who habitually or professionally does V. the i. [Yeniseian also has be = no.result from hardening. the entire form is negated rather than the final verb: guw lum ba . · forgetfulness not-his-make-sting-should-he We n sen.

· · lies having-done but-not and-then you your-eat-will-I but-not = If you had lied. where it is reinforced by the particle ceq. where we have p nzem van = money-my is): j pais du .= to be: Ph ing tum ceq ka un gus cam ceq. since that would be Ph ing tAm ba ka. in a construction that corresponds to a relative clause in English:                   $        . there is no word for ‘to have’: ‘I have money’ is expressed as ‘my money is’.I have money of-me money(y) is(y) and of course the more probable .= to take (away)). yet. perhaps an object (experiencer). Occasionally.16 - Syntax and Subordinate Clauses The normal Burushaski sentence starts with zero or more consecutives. in Hungarian.I have no money j pais ap of-me money(y) not-is(y) Subordinate clauses The constant use of the consecutive reduces the need for other forms of subordinate clauses. · · lies having-done you-are and-then you your-eat-will-I = If you have lied. verb’ also occurs. I would have eaten you. Although the texts seem to avoid having both an actor and an experiencer.’. The order ‘experiencer. in ways which can often be translated literally into English: G lta c rumyate . (lion to fox) (It is clear that the meaning cannot be ‘If I have lied .. A number of subordinate relations can be expressed by using the past or present participle with location endings.a dog.) Its third usage is for counterfactual conditions.) her-carrying-away was-he = the merchant married the woman (from -c .. actor. and then’. for instance. The example given under ‘The consecutive’ is typical.a dog and a cat huk ka bu´ tul . examples can still be found easily: ne saudag re mo gus muc m bam the merchant (actor) the woman (exp. and ends with perhaps a subject (actor). To have As in many languages. (as it also is. in isolation it means ‘still. which seems to mean something like ‘but not really’ and which absorbs the forms of the verb ba. a past participle is used as an adjective. I will eat you. and always a verb.. this seems to have a more passive meaning: ne hir c le c mi the man (experiencer) water (actor) him-carried-away-it = the man was carried away by the water but we should not forget that the ending -mi in c mi refers to c le = water (actor) and not to ne hir = the man (experiencer). a cat and a snake s dog and-then cat snake First it is used like the English ‘that’ to connect two sentences: γan ka se bu´ w lum bi s he-saw and-then the cat its-having-fallen is = he saw that the cat had fallen Its second usage is for conditionals: Ph ing tum ba ka un gus cam.when he came to Gilgit · Gilgit-to his-coming-on (upon coming to Gilgit) A word that features often in subordinate relations is ka. but it is also used to list nouns: huk ka bu´ s .

¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥      Figure 8 — Numerals in Yasin Burushaski  100 1000 1999 tha haz r haz r hut tha w lte.ltar t rum three twenty ten w lte. as in English. among others. The forms for 80 and 90 are reminiscent of the the French quatre-vingt = fourtwenty and quatre-vingt dix = four-twenty ten. Higher numbers have two forms only. one for the hxy classes.Do you have money? of-you money it-is eh? Many question words agree with the gender of the noun they refer to:           men men mes met     d las das n bu´ s ha - which boy (hm) which girl (hf) which cat (x) which house (y) Others are adjectives and end in -um: b ltum hir .what kind of man ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§¥ Numerals The numbers one to three have different forms for the classes hmf.ltar three twenty isk . turma-huc /-hut · ltar ltar t rum twenty ten alt . which. See Figure 8. See Figure 9. is not derived from the word for ‘one’.ltar t rum two twenty ten isk .17 - j girm num gut ket p .ltar four twenty w lte. except for the word for ‘first’. Questions Yes-no questions are formed by suffixing -a after the verb form: G pais du -a? . in addition they have a special form used. for counting.ltar two alt . x and y.ltar turma-hut                     19 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90       11 12 turma-h n/-h n/-h k turma-alt n/-alt c/-alt etc.ltar t rum four twenty ten                       Class: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 hmf hen alt n isk w ltu cend bi´ ndu s thal alt mbu huc · t rum Yasin Numerals x y han han alt c alt isk isk ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← ← z hek alt isk w lte cend bi´ nde s thal alt mbe hut t rum . The ordinal numbers are formed by adding the adjective ending -um to the form used for counting.this book that I have written my its-having-written this book but in general relative clauses play a far smaller role in Burushaski than in English. the z class. and one for counting..

Otto Harrassowitz. Although the book has the same structure as the three-volume work by Lorimer on Hunza Burushaski. the grammar is a real grammar. Texte. Also. Wiesbaden. Hunza Burushaski has -ar (-r after vowels). A few comparisons:  Another difference is that Hunza Burushaski uses go. for (-γa after vowels). ' ¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥§¥&¥   Figure 10 — Numerals in Hunza Burushaski            Yasin h ra g smuγa j γa g γa m γa      Hunza h rar g smur jar ngar(!) m mar ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§%¥  Figure 9 — Ordinals - to a man to a woman to me to you to us Class: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  haw lum alt um isk um w lteum cend um bi´ ndeum s thal um alt mbeum hut um t rumum          ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§%¥ - first (from haw l = the one at the front) second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth ninth tenth z hik lto ski w lti cind mi´ ndi s tal alt mbi hunt t rimi . Das Yasin-Burushaski (Werchikwar): Grammatik. Hermann. all other forms derive from ung.= you.= you.18 - Hunza Burushaski and Yasin Burushaski Compared One of the differences between Hunza Burushaski and Yasin Burushaski lies in one of the locative endings: where Yasin Burushaski has -a = to. A third difference is that third person masculine Yasin forms like tum b i = he has done it and ´um c b i = he is doing it contract to tai and ´ai in Hunza Burushaski. as marked in the examples above. towards. your as a possessive prefix only. 1974. we get two completely different words. all other forms derive from go-. W rterbuch. other contractions occur that c are absent in Yasin Burushaski.. The book is far from a text book. with rules and text in phonemic writing. Berger. that is in the form for ‘to you’. The numerals from one to ten in Hunza Burushaski are shown in Figure 10. 228 pp. comparison with Figure 8 shows that the differences are minor. Yasin Burushaski uses un = you for the experiencer and the actor only. Hunza Numerals hmf x y hin han han ltan ltac lto sken sko sko w lto ← ← cund ← ← mi´ ndo s ← ← tal ← ← alt mbo ← ← hun´ c ← ← t rumo ← ←              ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§&¥           References 1. Where these two effects combine. As we have seen. The Hunza Burushaski sentence Langabrumo Mal´u´o-mo muring-ete cil m etimi c c · shown above would be Langabrumo Mal´u´u-mu mur ing-yate cel m timi c c · in Yasin Burushaski.

19 - though. D. Khowar. London. written phonetically rather than phonemically. p. SELAF #303. 11-50. The dictionary is a word list to the stories only. 322 pp. V clav. Although the article concerns the Hunza valley rather than the Yasin valley. 6. Yeniseian. with a postscript on recent developments. 1989. “High road to Hunza”. 3. Bengtson. Tiffou and Lorimer. The etymologies generally involve 3 to 4 members of the groups mentioned. Shina. 1935. Often the recorded material fluctuates so much that precise rules are difficult to find. organised according to subject. Part 2 contains recorded and translated stories. 115-134. “Lexica Dene-Caucasica”. 1987.. 58 pp. Paris. vol. Sino-Tibetan and Na-Den (Athabaskan + Tlingit + Haida). Kalasha. Yves Charles. Oslo. with a German-Burushaski index. The literature references are copious. Additions and corrections to the dictionaries of Berger. 30 phrases and 20 numerals) vocabularies of Urdu. and Wakhi (Xikwor). Assumes that the reader has read Berger’s book. Australia. 7. 1996. Extensive terminology on weddings and marital customs. Hawthorn. Jurgen Pesot.. The dictionary is Burushaski-German. A set of 219 etymologies linking Basque. Caucasian. D. John. Part 1 contains large amounts of very carefully described data. Blazek.. it is still very informative. vol. p. tudes bourouchaski 2. Kimberley O’Neil. John. Lorimer. Paris. Peeters/SELAF. 8. the material is presented in a linguistic rather than a pedagogical order. . ( ( ) ( 2. 3. SELAF #304. Jonathan Blair. tudes bourouchaski 1. Contains short (about 50 words.161-164. no. more stories. 1989. Instituttet for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning. tienne Tiffou. Balti. 2. Edward Arnold. National Geographic. Lonely Planet. The Burushaski texts contain some amusing and some X-rated stories. ˇ 1995. A table of sounds correspondences is given. The book is not a grammar in that the author does not present rules but only reports observations. Burushaski. And of course descriptions of dozens of foot trips and tons of advice. 464 pp. 39. 463 pp. ¢ £ ) $ ( 3. McCarry. Dictionnaire compl mentaire du bourouchaski du Yasin. 1991. A Guide to the World’s Languages: Volume 1: Classification. Peeters/SELAF. Trekking in the Karakoram and Hindukush. The Burushaski Language Vol. Merritt. part 3 is a dictionary. Morin. Tiffou. 5. and requires several readings. The author deliberately makes no attempt to distinguish between the results of the inherent inaccuracy of normal speech and those of grammatical processes and just recorded what he heard.R. and extends it with more and new material. Mook. 1. March 1994. Central Asiatic J. more about vowel lengths. Paradigms given in full. tienne.L. Ruhlen. Burushaski. 163 pp. 185. 4. Contes du Yasin Introduction au bourouchaski du Yasin.

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