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Languages of West Asia : grammatical snippets, phenomena and resources

Anatolia, Caucasus, Iran, Mesopotamia have been the melting pot of cultures and languages of various families (Altaic, various Caucasian, Indo-European, Kartvelian, Semitic, among else) for millenia. Understanding these languages, the sources of variation, the areas of contact in this geographical region opens insights to the human past, sharpens our perspective towards the Orient.

The aim of the present resource is to provide a general linguistic audience with snippets of the languages/grammars of this region, with a focus on contemporary language use, on the understanding of interactions between languages and the creation of areal profiles in grammar. This resource is addressed to linguistics students and linguists, as well as to linguistically informed scholars of the humanities who wish to learn more about the languages of this region. The ultimate target is not a full-fledged introduction to the invidual grammars, but rather attacting attention to phenomena of interest, also providing recommendations for further research, basic grammars, dictionaries, and resources, useful text collections for further study, references to teaching material for learning the language.

The present resource is a collaborative product of the LACIM network, a European research network on linguistics and languages of the Anatolia, Caucasus, Iran and Mesopotamia. A first set of language series was launched in 2021, as part of a joint course offered to the students of the Universities of Bamberg, Cambridge, Cyprus, Göttingen, Inalco Paris, Paris III, and the Russian State University of Humanities.

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The design of the present resource used ideas developed within the project Glottothèque: Ancient Indo-European Languages online (by Saverio Dalpedri, Götz Keydana, and Stavros Skopeteas at the University of Göttingen). The targets, contents and design of the LACIM glottothèque differ in various ways from this earlier project, reflecting the ideas of the editors of the LACIM network, who carry the entire responsibility for the contents of the present glottothèque.

The language series present a selection of grammatical snippets, which are ordered in the following sections in order to facilitate navigation within and between languages. Beyond this parallel architecture, the contents of the individual series vary considerably, depending on the relevant aspects of the language at issue and the linguistic or didactic approaches of the lecturers:

  • introductory snippets on the language and its speakers, sociolinguistic and dialectal variation, language family, history of the language and the people, sources of evidence and writing practices, outlines of the typological profile, sources for the study of the language

  • phonology snippets on segmental inventory, vowels and consonants, illustrative sound examples, phonological phenomena, syllabic structure, word stress, intonation.

  • morphology snippets on the morphological templates of inflectional categories, affix order, morphological processes, outlines of inflectional categories

  • syntax snippets on clause structure, exciting constructions, argument structure, ergativity, word order, information structure or speech acts and syntax, clausal embedding

  • texts sample texts with linguistic discussion, introductions to related corpus resources


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