COMPARATIVE RESEARCH INTO WEST HIMALAYISH

Contact person: Christian Huber

Due to the poor state of documentation of many West Himalayish languages, not much is known yet about their interrelations and the internal structure of the group. The fieldwork in Kinnaur and the research into West Himalayish carried out by the Phonogrammarchiv have hitherto yielded data from Shumcho/Humcho, Jangrami, and Sunnami, three WH languages about which formerly next to nothing had been known. The corresponding audio-visual documentation is part of the Phonogrammarchiv’s key collection of Himalayan research recordings.

So far, it has been possible to show that West Himalayish has two sub-groups, and that Sunnami belongs in a different sub-group than the other WH languages of Kinnaur, patterning with WH languages spoken outside Kinnaur. In international joint work with Manuel Widmer (University of Zurich), whose collection of Bunan (spoken in the district of Spiti-Lahaul) and other recordings have also been incorporated into the Phonogrammarchiv’s Himalayan holdings, the present project utilizes the data from the West Himalayish collection together with published data from other WH languages in a comparative effort to achieve a finer-grained internal analysis of the West Himalayish group. Gaps in the data are expected to be filled by future fieldwork.