Eastern Burushaski/Language

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Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronoun human (m or f) non-human concrete non-human abstract/amorphous
this kʰine<prn><dem><prx><sg><mf> ↔ kʰine kʰine<prn><dem><prx><sg><clx> ↔ guse kʰine<prn><dem><prx><sg><cly> ↔ gut̪e
that ine<prn><dem><dst><sg><mf> ↔ ine ine<prn><dem><dst><sg><clx> ↔ ise ine<prn><dem><dst><sg><cly> ↔ it̪e
these kʰuwe<prn><dem><prx><pl><mf> ↔ kʰuwe kʰuwe<prn><dem><prx><pl><clx> ↔ guce kʰuwe<prn><dem><prx><pl><cly> ↔ guke
those uwe<prn><dem><dst><pl><mf> ↔ uwe uwe<prn><dem><dst><pl><clx> ↔ ice uwe<prn><dem><dst><pl><cly> ↔ ike

note: <mf> is used for the class of nouns that are human, and can be either male or female, while <clx> is used for non-human concrete and <cly> is used for the non-human abstract/amorphous noun class. The demonstrative pronouns listed here are all absolutive.

I might give the same lemma across the three classes, so that e.g. guse's lemma is kʰine. -JNW


Reduplication is very productive in Burushaski, and can be used in a number of ways.

Partial Reduplication

Partial reduplication is only used in casual conversation. It most often applies to nouns, though Yoshioka claims that it can also be used on phrases and even clauses (p. 169). They are not clear as to the semantics of partial reduplication, and don't give any direct translations of any of their examples. Munshi's examples, on the other hand, have translations, and give a sense of a frequentative/iterative.

  • haralt̪ cʰu-cʰur manimi "It drizzled"
    • cʰur "drop"
    • cʰur<n><redp> ↔ cʰu-cʰur
  • haralt̪ ča-čar manimi "It rained heavily"
    • čar "pour"
    • čar<n><redp> ↔ ča-čar
  • giyaase ǰi-ǰir et̪imi "The baby cried loudly"
    • ǰir "cry"
    • ǰir<n><redp> ↔ ǰi-ǰir
  • hilese galt̪ar d̪a-d̪al et̪imi "They boy dragged the tree branch"
    • d̪al "drag"
    • d̪al<n><redp> ↔ d̪a-d̪al
  • in d̪a-d̪ar imanimi "He shivered"
    • d̪ar "shake"
    • d̪ar<n><redp> ↔ d̪a-d̪ar

Reduplication isn't a semantic property, but a morphological process. Your tag should be agnostic to process and only give semantic information, like what you said about frequentative or iterative.

Full Reduplication

Full reduplication is done "without any phonological modification, such as phoneme alternation, vowel lengthening, phoneme augmentation, and so forth." (Yoshioka 2012:166) Yoshioka describes full reduplication as adding emphasis, and reduplicated words of other parts of speech often become adverbs.

Monadic Reduplicated Tagged
ǰotišo "small" ǰotišo-ǰotišo "fairly small" ǰotišo<adj><redf> ↔ ǰotišo-ǰotišo
thala "slow" thala-thala "gradually" thala<adv><redf> ↔ thala-thala
kaa "with" kaa-kaa "close together" kaa<adj><redf> ↔ kaa-kaa

Notably, reduplication can also happen across a conjunction

loto "naked" loto-ke-loto "no cap on head" (lit. "naked and naked")
čʰu "naked" čʰu-ke-čʰu "bare feet" (lit. "naked and naked")

(wasn't sure how to tag these...)

Only use this if [mostly] productive. And again, the tag should give semantic information, not morpho-phonological. We don't use <suff_pl> and <suff_pst> and stuff to show that we use suffixes for plural and past, so the same should hold for reduplication.

Verb stems

Burushaski verbs are highly inflected, but verbs stems often have only two forms: a "base stem" for perfective tenses (e.g. simple past, present perfect) and a "derived stem" for imperfective tenses (e.g. future, present progressive) (Munshi in progress: 58). Examples with the verb 'to run' also from Munshi.

  • Perfective stem gaarc-
    • u gaarcuman "They ran" (Simple Past)
      • gaarc<v><iv><past><actv><ind><p3><pl> ↔ gaarcuman
    • u gaarcam "They had run" (Past Perfect)
      • gaarc<v><iv><past><pfct><actv><ind><p3><pl> ↔ gaarcam
  • Imperfective stem gaarš-
    • u gaaršuman "They will run" (Future)
      • gaarš<v><iv><fti><actv><ind><p3><pl> ↔ gaaršuman
    • u gaaršaan "They run" (Present Progressive)
      • gaarš<v><iv><pres><prog><actv><ind><p3><pl> ↔ gaaršaan
    • u gaaršume baan "They have been running" (Present Perfect Continuous)
      • [not sure how to tag the periphrastic -- have to investigate the participle-ish thing]
    • u gaaršam "They used to run" (Past Progressive)
      • gaarš<v><iv><past><prog><actv><ind><p3><pl> ↔ gaaršam

Which tags are you using to categorise the two stem types? Those tags should come close to the verb (around the transitivity tag), before any inflectional information.


Burushaski can form causatives in three ways, increasing the valence of the verb by one.

  • Null derivation (just adding another pronominal prefix)
    • sabrina gučʰamo "Sabrina slept"
      • gučʰa<v><iv><past><actv><ind><p3><f><sg> ↔ gučʰamo
    • saliime sabrina mogučami "Saleem put Sabrina to sleep"
      • gučʰa<v><tv><past><actv><ind><p3><m><sg><o_sg3f> ↔ mogučʰami
      • no explanation of the change in aspiration -- may be a typo in source, or related to stress shift
  • Lengthening of vowel of object (theme) prefix
    • sabrinaa keek d̪esmanumo "Sabrina made the cake"
      • sman<v><tv><past><actv><ind><p3><f><o_sg3xy> ↔ d̪esmanumo
      • Don't know if keek is an X or Y class word
    • karime sabrina keek d̪umoosmanimi "Karim caused Sabrina to make the cake"
      • sman<v><tv><past><actv><ind><p3><m><sg><o_sg3f><io_sg3xy> ↔ d̪umoosmanimi
      • Don't know if keek is an X or Y class word
  • Prefix [s] (intransitives only)
    • hiles iwarimi "The boy is tired"
      • war<v><iv><past><actv><ind><p3><sg> ↔ iwarimi
    • ǰaa hiles esparam "I made the boy tired"
      • war<v><tv><past><actv><ind><p1><sg><o_sg3m> ↔ esparam

(not sure how to properly tag subject vs object agreement)

You definitely do not want tags that could potentially repeat, like multiple subject agreement tags. Since multiple arguments are marked on the verb, the solution might be to use separate <s_> and maybe <io_> tags that correspond to your <o_> tags.

"To be" copula forms

Present Tense Past Tense
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Positive Negative Positive Negative Positive Negative Positive Negative
b<cop><pres><ind><p1><sg> ↔ baa b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p1><sg> ↔ apaa b<cop><pres><ind><p1><pl> ↔ baan b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p1><pl> ↔ apaan b<cop><past><ind><p1><sg> ↔ bayam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p1><sg> ↔ apayam b<cop><past><ind><p1><pl> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p1><pl> ↔ apam
b<cop><pres><ind><p2><sg> ↔ baa b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p2><sg> ↔ apaa b<cop><pres><ind><p2><pl> ↔ baan b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p2><pl> ↔ apaan b<cop><past><ind><p2><sg> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p2><sg> ↔ apam b<cop><past><ind><p2><pl> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p2><pl> ↔ apam
b<cop><pres><ind><p3><sg><m> ↔ bai b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><sg><m> ↔ apai b<cop><pres><ind><p3><pl><m> ↔ baan b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><pl><m> ↔ apaan b<cop><past><ind><p3><sg><m> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><sg><m> ↔ apam b<cop><past><ind><p3><pl><m> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><pl><m> ↔ apam
b<cop><pres><ind><p3><sg><f> ↔ bo b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><sg><f> ↔ apo b<cop><pres><ind><p3><pl><f> ↔ baan b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><pl><f> ↔ apaan b<cop><past><ind><p3><sg><f> ↔ bom b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><sg><f> ↔ apom b<cop><past><ind><p3><pl><f> ↔ bam b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><pl><f> ↔ apam
b<cop><pres><ind><p3><sg><clx> ↔ bi b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><sg><clx> ↔ api b<cop><pres><ind><p3><pl><clx> ↔ biye b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><pl><clx> ↔ apiye b<cop><past><ind><p3><sg><clx> ↔ bim b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><sg><clx> ↔ apim b<cop><past><ind><p3><pl><clx> ↔ bim b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><pl><clx> ↔ apim
b<cop><pres><ind><p3><sg><cly> ↔ bila b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><sg><cly> ↔ api b<cop><pres><ind><p3><pl><cly> ↔ bica b<cop><neg><pres><ind><p3><pl><cly> ↔ api b<cop><past><ind><p3><sg><cly> ↔ bilum b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><sg><cly> ↔ apim b<cop><past><ind><p3><pl><cly> ↔ bicum b<cop><neg><past><ind><p3><pl><cly> ↔ apim

Forms are taken from Munshi (in progress) and Basic Burushaski Vocabulary by Stephen R Willson (1999). Munshi lists the lemma for "to be" as [b], and it appears to take the past perfect verb suffixes in the past tense (Munshi example 86b) and the present progressive suffixes in the present tense (Munshi 86d). Munshi does not address the negative copula forms directly, but does list the [a-] prefix as denoting a negative (Munshi It is possible that the [b] lemma is expressed as a [p] due to the [a-] prefix rather than being a distinct root.

Yeah, you're treating this as two distinct copula roots. If most verbs just inflect for <neg>, then you might want to make the copula do that too, uniting "both copulas" under a single lemma.

Obligatory possession

Some nouns in Burushaski always appear with possessive markers. Yoshioka (36) cites Berger (1998a: 44), who says that there are about "150 substantives" in this class. (Yoshioka goes on to give examples that include nouns and prepositions, and it is not clear whether they count as "substantives.") Paradigms of possessed nouns are drawn from Munshi (in progress), because Yoshioka doesn't cite full forms.

Words fall into (at least) two paradigms of prefixes, apparently without semantic or phonological rationale. Yoshioka also identifies a third type of possessed nouns, which they claim only includes 5 nouns, whose prefixes they list are mostly long-vowel versions of the Type-II prefixes. Yoshioka also lists possessive endings for X and Y class words, which Munshi does not cite forms for.

Pronominal prefixes of inherently possessed nouns Type-I (e.g. -šak 'arm') Type-II (e.g. -ċo 'same-gender sibling')
1st <px1sg><typ1><n>šak ↔ ašak <px1pl><typ1><n>šak ↔ mišak <px1sg><typ2><n>ċo ↔ aċo <px1pl><typ2><n>ċo ↔ meċo
2nd <px2sg><typ1><n>šak ↔ gušak <px2pl><typ1><n>šak ↔ mašak <px2sg><typ2><n>ċo ↔ goċo <px2pl><typ2><n>ċo ↔ maċo
3rd (male) <px3sgm><typ1><n>šak ↔ išak <px3pl><typ1><n>šak ↔ ušak <px3sgm><typ2><n>ċo ↔ eċo <px3pl><typ2><n>ċo ↔ oċo
3rd (female) <px3sgf><typ1><n>šak ↔ mušak <px3sgf><typ2><n>ċo ↔ moċo


Numerals are inflected for noun class (human, X, Y). For 1-3, there is a distinction between all three, but for 4-10, human and X class numerals are homophonous.

Numerals Human (M&F) X Y
1 hin<num><mf> ↔ hin hin<num><clx> ↔ han hin<num><cly> ↔ hik
2 alt̪an<num><mf> ↔ alt̪an alt̪an<num><clx> ↔ alt̪a alt̪an<num><cly> ↔ alt̪o
3 isken<num><mf> ↔ isken isken<num><clx> ↔ usko isken<num><cly> ↔ iski
4 walt̪o<num><mfclx> ↔ walt̪o walt̪o<num><cly> ↔ walt̪i
5 cʰund̪o<num><mfclx> ↔ cʰund̪o cʰund̪o<num><cly> ↔ cʰind̪i
6 mišind̪o<num><mfclx> ↔ mišind̪o mišind̪o<num><cly> ↔ mišind̪i
7 t̪ʰalo<num><mfclx> ↔ t̪ʰalo t̪ʰalo<num><cly> ↔ t̪ʰale
8 alt̪ambo<num><mfclx> ↔ alt̪ambo alt̪ambo<num><cly> ↔ alt̪ambi
9 hunčo<num><mfclx> ↔ hunčo hunčo<num><cly> ↔ hunti
10 t̪oorumo<num><mfclx> ↔ t̪oorumo t̪oorumo<num><cly> ↔ t̪oorimi

(talk about above 10)