Indiana University Bloomington
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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)
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Central Eurasian Languages
CEUS-R 399/699
Christopher Beckwith

This course examines the structure of the major Central Eurasian languages and recent linguistic work on them. The language families covered belong to the Finno-Ugric, Iranic, Serbi-Mongolic, Japanese-Koguryoic, Tibeto-Burman, Tungusic, and Turkic families. When relevant, the treatment focuses on relevant linguistic topics that are of special interest to the instructor and students (e.g., classifiers, evidentials, mimetics or ‘ideophones’, ‘vowel harmony’, etc.). The Sprachbund (‘linguistic area’) theory that is usually assumed for these languages is examined, alongside the major relationship theories, including divergent or ‘genetic’ and convergent theories. Special attention is paid to the recent ‘sudden diachronic change by creolization’ theory of Johanna Nichols et al., which is based explicitly on Central Eurasian linguistic history.

No prior knowledge of Central Eurasian languages is assumed or required, but some background in linguistics is necessary.