Agnes Korn. Digging through Layers of Language Contact: Elements of Diglossia and Multilingualism in Balochi
In spite of being an Ir. language, Balochi may sound to many quite like an Indo-Aryan language, with its retroflex consonants, nasal vowels (in many dialects) and a typical South Asian sentence intonation (at least for the dialects in Pakistan). An Iranian language in Indian clothes, as it were, just as Ossetic could be said to be an Ir. language in Caucasian clothes. At the same time, Balochi is classified as a North-West Iranian language although it is spoken in the South-Eastern periphery of the Iranian sphere. On the other hand, "Balochi stands brilliantly out among all Iranian languages" with strikingly archaic features (Geiger 1901). Likewise ancient are its contacts with Persian, which demonstrably date back as far as the Old Persian period. This talk discusses the various layers of linguistic and cultural influences suggested by the points just mentioned, and which can be seen in the Balochi lexicon, phonology and morphosyntax. I will argue that historical linguistics can unearth the rich history of language contact that is reflected by all levels of Balochi grammar.Agnes Korn is a renowned specialist in Iranian languages, currently affiliated with Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France.