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Higher Seminar with Henrik Liljegren: A first glance at Gawarbati phonology


Date: Thursday 17 March 2022

Time: 15.00 – 16.30

Location: C 307, Södra huset, Frescati Campus, Stockholm University

Welcome to the higher seminar in linguistics with Henrik Liljegren, linguistic researcher with an interest in the languages of the Hindu Kush-Karakorum region.



A first glance at Gawarbati phonology



This is essentially a first “report from the field” for a recently started documentation and description project, involving data collection and analysis of the understudied and endangered Indo-Aryan language Gawarbati, spoken in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Hindu Kush mountains. One of the very first things any documentary linguist or linguistic fieldworker has to wrestle with is how to give the language a written representation in a consistent and non-reductionist manner. In that process, a sound phonological analysis is absolutely foundational, and even more so if the aims happen to be of a descriptive nature. Therefore, I will mainly talk about Gawarbati phonology, suggest a (rather extensive) phoneme inventory, give evidence of contrast, and discuss distribution, allophony and the phonetic realization of a few selected features and recurring contrasts in the inventory. The supporting acoustic analysis includes e.g. formant plotting (F1-F2), measurements of fundamental frequency, duration and VOT. Apart from segmental contrasts, I will address some issues related to suprasegmental properties, such as stress/accent, and their most prominent acoustic correlates. Relevant parallels and comparisons with close areal and genealogical relatives of Gawarbati will be made throughout the discussion.