A Comparative Analysis of Shina and Kashmiri Vocabularies


  • Ruth Laila Schmidt
  • Vijay Kumar Kaul




This paper presents lists of core vocabulary in ten dialects of Shina and Kashmiri, discussing in detail the lexical and phonological data contained in the Shina lists, with special attention to language contact phenomena. A few salient Shina grammatical features, from ancillary data, also point to contact with surrounding languages: the agent case markers, subject-verb concord, and suffix-noun concord in the possessive case. A table of selected cognates presents a capsule overview of the lexical variation encountered in this project. It shows that Shina and Kashmiri do not share a large number of cognates even in a selective list, and that the phonological development of cognates has been strikingly different. Loanwords are an important clue to influence from surrounding languages on Shina. Lists of loanwords show that while all Shina dialects have been in contact with Burushaski to a greater or lesser extent, there are also varying degrees of influence from especially Kashmiri, Persian (earlier the official language of the Kashmir state) and Tibetan. The geographical sources of contact phenomena are examined to see if they correspond to Radloffs (1992) "geographical centers of Shina".