Notes on the typological prehistory of Ghilyak

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This paper discusses the typological evolution of Ghilyak (Nivkh), a small “Palaeo-Asiatic” language family also known as Amuric, distributed in the Amur-Sakhalin region of the Russian Far East. In some respects, especially in the phonology, morphophonology, and phonotactics, Ghilyak shows features absent in the other languages of the region, most of which represent the so-called “Altaic” areal-typological complex. At the same time, Ghilyak shares with its neighbours several “Altaic” features, especially in the morphosyntax, including suffixally marked number and case, as well as nominalized and converbialized verbs. An analysis of the data shows that Ghilyak has been affected by at least two processes of typological transformation which have, either successively or in parallel, both “Altaicized” and “de-Altaicized” its linguistic structure. The reasons of these transformations can be sought in the substratal, adstratal, and superstratal impact of the neighbouring “Altaic” and “non-Altaic” languages. This allows us to place the typological prehistory of Ghilyak in a context shared by other languages of the North Pacific Rim, notably Tungusic and Koreanic.
TidskriftInternational journal of Eurasian linguistics
Sidor (från-till)1-28
Antal sidor28
StatusPublicerad - 5 aug 2020
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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