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Linguistic Diversity and its Sources

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Structural aspects of Siberian languages (with a focus on Northern Tungusic)

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Scientific framework and objectives

Many languages of Siberia share certain structural features, such as a tendency towards SOV word order, agglutinative morphology, large case systems, and different types of vowel harmony. However, fine-scaled areal typologies reveal considerable amounts of variation that underlie the typological similarities (cf. Pakendorf 2012, Matić & Pakendorf 2013).

While more or less detailed descriptions exist for most of the languages of Siberia, fieldwork-based projects focusing on the diversification of Even dialects and the documentation of Negidal are bringing to light interesting features of these languages that can add to our knowledge of the range of diversity of human languages. For instance, typologically very rare features are the applicative-like use of the Associated Motion suffix in Tungusic languages (cf. Pakendorf & Stoynova 2021) and the marking of (in)definiteness via evaluative suffixes (diminutives and augmentatives) in Even (cf. Pakendorf & Krivoshapkina 2014).

  • Matić, D., Pakendorf, B., 2013, "Non-canonical SAY in Siberia: Areal and genealogical patterns", Studies in Language, 37:2, pp. 356-412
  • Pakendorf, B., 2012, "Patterns of relativization in North Asia: towards a refined typology of prenominal participial relative clauses", in Complex clauses in Cross-linguistic perspective, Diessel, H., Gast, V. (eds), de Gruyter Mouton, pp. 253-283
  • Pakendorf, B., Krivoshapkina, I., 2014, "Ėven nominal evaluatives and the marking of definiteness", Linguistic Typology, 18:2, pp. 289–331
  • Pakendorf, B., 2017, "Lamunkhin Even evaluative morphology in cross-linguistic comparison", Morphology, 27, pp. 123–158
  • Pakendorf, B., 2019, "Expressing equality, similarity, and pretense in Even (Northern Tungusic, Siberia)", Faits de Langues (special issue on "Comparaisons d’égalité et de similitude et expression de la simulation" edited by Yvonne Treis & Claudine Chamoureau), 50:1, pp. 91-109
  • Pakendorf, B., Aralova, N., 2020, "Even and the Northern Tungusic languages", in The Oxford Guide to the Transeurasian Languages, Robbeets, M., Savelyev, A. (eds), Oxford University Press, pp. 288-304
  • Pakendorf, B., Stapert, E., 2020, "Sakha and Dolgan, the North Siberian Turkic languages", in The Oxford Guide to the Transeurasian Languages, Robbeets, M., Savelyev, A. (eds), Oxford University Press, pp. 430-445
  • Pakendorf, B., Stoynova, N., 2021, "Associated motion in Tungusic languages: a case of mixed argument structure", in Associated Motion, Guillaume, A., Koch, H. (eds), de Gruyter Mouton, pp. 855-897

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