Burushaski: An Extraordinary Language in the Karakoram Mountains

Burushaski: An Extraordinary Language in the Karakoram Mountains by Dick Grune was a Schoenhof’s find. This slim booklet of only 38 pages looked at this northern Pakistani language isolate, however it was presented without any coherent structure. Its linguistic topics were all over the place, with far more advanced features such as compound tenses discussed before negation or even the words for the numbers. Its haphazard chapters and the depth it devoted to such complex linguistic features reminded me of the way The Basque Language was laid out. Unfortunately both books left me unenlightened about either language. Start with the basics first, please. I thought Grune would do just that, as the book did start with a phonetic breakdown of all the sounds in Burushaski. Yet after a discussion of noun classes and plurals we’re looking at different cases and case endings. which is too involved so early in a language’s introduction. I suppose you have to cover everything if you’ve only got 38 pages. I did find it surprising that there “are very few adverbs in Burushaski, and those that exist are not derived from the corresponding adjective:

humálkum – quick
ṣáu – quickly”

I did like the two pages of references, which inspired me to look for some of the volumes at antiquarian bookseller websites.

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