Henrik Liljegren

Henrik Liljegren


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Arbetar vid Institutionen för lingvistik
Telefon 08-16 12 45
Besöksadress Universitetsvägen 10 C, plan 2-3
Rum C244
Postadress Institutionen för lingvistik 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Som lingvist har jag mer än 10 års erfarenhet av fältarbete i norra Pakistan. Min inriktning är funktionalistisk och typologisk och jag har ett särskilt intresse för språken i Hindukush-Karakorumregionen (bergsområdet som täcker norra Pakistan, nordöstra Afghanistan och det omtvistade Kashmir). Många av språken i denna region är både särskilt utsatta och knapphändigt beskrivna.


Den undervisning jag bedriver vid Stockholms universitet är främst inom allmän språkvetenskap och språkdokumentation. Jag är också involverad i uppsats- och doktorandhandledning.


Mitt forskningsfokus är för närvarande arealtypologiskt med inriktning på den ovannämnda regionen. Målet med ett pågående forskningsprojekt (finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet) är att upprätta en lingvistisk profil för Hindukush, en region som kännetecknas av stor språklig mångfald (ca 50 språk, inkl. indoariska, iranska, nuristanska, tibetoburmanska, turkspråk och språkisolatet burushaski) och en hög nivå av flerspråkighet. En preliminär studie pekade ut ett antal språkliga drag som speciellt intressanta. Dessa är nu föremål för en mer systematisk undersökning kring likheter och olikheter hos språken. Slutsatserna av studien kommer att ha betydelse för språkklassifikation och även för vår generella förståelse för effekterna av långvariga tvärspråkliga kontakter.

För mer information om projektet, se sajten och databasen Hindu Kush Areal Typology: 

Förutom forskning är jag också engagerad i språkrevitalisering (skriftspråks- och lokal litteraturutveckling, modersmålsundervisning osv), handledning och rådgivning åt språkaktivister i att dokumentera de egna språken samt i att bygga nätverk mellan lokalsamhällen och organisationer.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2020. Henrik Liljegren. Evidentiality, egophoricity and engagement, 141-163

    While evidentiality is neither systematically nor obligatorily signaled in IndoAryan Palula [phl; phal1254] (Pakistan), it can be observed in so-called scattered coding. It is most obviously reflected in three sub-systems of the language: a) as a secondary effect of tense—aspect differentiation, mostly clearly seen in the use of the perfect for indirect evidence vis-à-vis the use of the simple past for direct evidence; b) by a set of utterance-final mood markers, involving an emerging threeway paradigmatic contrast: thaní as quotative, maní as hearsay and ɡa as inferred knowledge; and c) by (at least) one member of a set of second-position discourse particles, xu, marking surprise. Although evidentiality contrasts akin to the perfect vs. simple past were indeed part of the ancestral Indo-Aryan tense system, there are plenty of parallels in adjacent languages to the epistemic contrasts noted for Palula, suggesting that more recent language contact must have contributed to, or largely facilitated, the emergence of epistemic marking in the language.

  • 2019. Henrik Liljegren. Grammatical gender and linguistic complexity, 279-328

    This paper investigates the phenomenon of gender as it appears in 25 Indo-Aryan languages (sometimes referred to as “Dardic”) spoken in the Hindu Kush-Karakorum region – the mountainous areas of northeastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and the disputed territory of Kashmir. Looking at each language in terms of the number of genders present, to what extent these are sex-based or non-sex-based, how gender relates to declensional differences, and what systems of assign-ment are applied, we arrive at a micro-typology of gender in Hindu Kush Indo-Aryan, including a characterization of these systems in terms of their general com-plexity. Considering the relatively close genealogical ties, the languages display a number of unexpected and significant differences. While the inherited sex-based gender system is clearly preserved in most of the languages, and perhaps even strengthened in some, it is curiously missing altogether in others (such as in Kalasha and Khowar) or seems to be subject to considerable erosion (e.g. in Dameli). That the languages of the latter kind are all found at the northwestern outskirts of the Indo-Aryan world suggests non-trivial interaction with neighbouring languages without gender or with markedly different assignment systems. In terms of com-plexity, the southwestern-most corner of the region stands out; here we find a few languages (primarily belonging to the Pashai group) that combine inherited sex-based gender differentiation with animacy-related distinctions resulting in highly complex agreement patterns. The findings are discussed in the light of earlier obser-vations of linguistic areality or substratal influence in the region, involving Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, Tibeto-Burman, Turkic languages and Burushaski. The present study draws from the analysis of earlier publications as well as from en-tirely novel field data.

  • 2018. Jan Heegård, Henrik Liljegren. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia. International Journal of Structural Linguistics 50 (2), 129-160

    The article describes the geomorphic systems of spatial reference in the two Indo-Aryan languages Palula and Kalasha, spoken in adjacent areas of an alpine region in Northwestern Pakistan. Palula and Kalasha encode the inclination of the mountain slope as well as the flow of the river, in systematic and similar ways, and by use of distinct sets of nominal lexemes that may function adverbially. In their verbal systems, only Palula encode, landscape features in a systematic way, but both languages make use of a number of verbal sets that in different ways emphasise boundary-crossing. The article relates the analysis to Palmer's Topographic Correspondence Hypothesis that predicts that the linguistic system of spatial reference will reflect the topography of the surrounding landscape. The analysis of the geomorphic systems in Palula and Kalasha supports this hypothesis. However, data from a survey of spatial strategies in neighbouring languages, i.e., languages spoken in a similar alpine landscape, reveal another system that does not to the same extent or in a similar way encode typical landscape features such as the mountain slope and the flow of the river. This calls for a revision of Palmer's hypothesis that also takes language contact into consideration.

  • 2017. Henrik Liljegren, Erik Svärd. Journal of Language Contact 10 (3), 450-484

    A contrastive (or antithetical) construction which makes simultaneous use of two separate particles is identified through a mainly corpus-based study as a typical feature of a number of lesser-described languages spoken in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderland in the high Hindukush. The feature encompasses Nuristani languages (Waigali, Kati) as well as the Indo-Aryan languages found in their close vicinity (Palula, Kalasha, Dameli, Gawri), while it is not shared by more closely related Indo-Aryan languages spoken outside of this geographically delimited area. Due to a striking (although not complete) overlap with at least two other (unrelated) structural features, pronominal kinship suffixes and retroflex vowels, we suggest that a linguistic and cultural diffusion zone of considerable age is centred in the mountainous Nuristan-Kunar-Panjkora area.

  • 2017. Henrik Liljegren. Journal of South Asian languages and linguistics 4 (1), 107-156

    The study is a typological profile of 31 Indo-Aryan (IA) languages in the Hindukush-Karakoram-Western Himalayan region (covering NE Afghanistan, N Pakistan, and parts of Kashmir). Native speakers were recruited to provide comparative data. This data, supplemented by reputable descriptions or field notes, was evaluated against a number of WALS- or WALS-like features, enabling a fine-tuned characterization of each language, taking different lin-guistic domains into account (phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon). The emerging patterns were compared with global distributions as well as with characteristic IA features and well-known areal patterns. Some features, mainly syntactic, turned out to be shared with IA in general, whereas others do have scattered reflexes in IA outside of the region but are especially prevalent in the region: large consonant inventories, tripartite pronominal case alignment, a high frequency of left-branching constructions, and multi-degree deictic sys-tems. Yet other features display a high degree of diversity, often bundling subareally. Finally, there was a significant clustering of features that are not characterizing IA in general: tripartite affricate differentiation, retroflexion across several subsets, aspiration contrasts involving voiceless consonants only, tonal contrasts and 20-based numerals. This clustering forms a “hard core” at the centre of the region, gradually fading out toward its peripheries.

  • 2017. Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Henrik Liljegren. The Cambridge handbook of areal linguistics, 204-236
  • Artikel Khowar
    2017. Henrik Liljegren, Afsar Ali Khan. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 47 (2), 219-229

    Khowar (ISO 639-3: khw) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by 200,000–300,000 (Decker 1992: 31–32; Bashir 2003: 843) people in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly North-West Frontier Province). The majority of the speakers are found in Chitral (a district and erstwhile princely state bordering Afghanistan, see Figure 1), where the language is used as a lingua franca, but there are also important pockets of speaker groups in adjacent areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Swat District as well as a considerable number of recent migrants to larger cities such as Peshawar and Rawalpindi (Decker 1992: 25–26). Its closest linguistic relative is Kalasha, a much smaller language spoken in a few villages in southern Chitral (Morgenstierne 1961: 138; Strand 1973: 302, 2001: 252). While Khowar has preserved a number of features (phonological, morphological as well as lexical) now lost in other Indo-Aryan languages of the surrounding Hindukush-Karakoram mountain region, it has, over time, incorporated a massive amount of lexical material from neighbouring or influential Iranian languages (Morgenstierne 1936) – and with it, new phonological distinctions. Certain features might also be attributable to formerly dominant languages (e.g. Turkic), or to linguistic substrates, either in the form of, or related to, the language isolate Burushaski, or other, now extinct, languages previously spoken in the area (Morgenstierne 1932: 48, 1947: 6; Bashir 2007: 208–214). There is relatively little dialectal variation among the speakers in Chitral itself, probably attributable to the relative recency of the present expansion of the language (Morgenstierne 1932: 50).

  • 2016. Henrik Liljegren.

    This grammar provides a grammatical description of Palula, an Indo-Aryan language of the Shina group. The language is spoken by about 10,000 people in the Chitral district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This is the first extensive description of the formerly little-documented Palula language, and is one of only a few in-depth studies available for languages in the extremely multilingual Hindukush-Karakoram region. The grammar is based on original fieldwork data, collected over the course of about ten years, commencing in 1998. It is primarily in the form of recorded, mainly narrative, texts, but supplemented by targeted elicitation as well as notes of observed language use. All fieldwork was conducted in close collaboration with the Palula-speaking community, and a number of native speakers took active part in the process of data gathering, annotation and data management. The main areas covered are phonology, morphology and syntax, illustrated with a large number of example items and utterances, but also a few selected lexical topics of some prominence have received a more detailed treatment as part of the morphosyntactic structure. Suggestions for further research that should be undertaken are given throughout the grammar. The approach is theory-informed rather than theory-driven, but an underlying functional-typological framework is assumed. Diachronic development is taken into account, particularly in the area of morphology, and comparisons with other languages and references to areal phenomena are included insofar as they are motivated and available. The description also provides a brief introduction to the speaker community and their immediate environment.

Visa alla publikationer av Henrik Liljegren vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 11 februari 2021

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