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 modern Central Eurasian languages and recent linguistic work on them. The languages selected for coverage belong to the Finno-Ugric, Iranic, Serbi-Mongolic, Japanese-Koguryoic, Tibeto-Burman, Tungusic, and Turkic families. When relevant, the treatment focuses on linguistic topics that are of special interest to the instructor and students, e.g., classifiers, evidentials, mimetics or ‘ideophones’, ‘vowel harmony’, etc. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of each selected language, which is examined in some detail using a hands-on approach to actual linguistic materials via “accessible” publications. Typological features common to Central Eurasian languages are noted and discussed. The major relationship theories, including divergent or ‘genetic’ theories and convergent theories, are also examined, as is 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.