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The Waziri Chain Shift

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image of Journal of Persianate Studies

AbstractThe Waziri dialect of the Pashto language, spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan, features a vowel shift with respect to other varieties of Pashto. Kieffer calls this process metaphony, but referring to it as a vowel shift facilitates comparison with similar phenomena in other languages. This shift involves three standard vowels, /ā/, /o/ and /u/, which in Waziri can shift to /o/, /e/ and /i/, respectively. We will discuss the phonetic processes involved, and find parallels in languages genetically near and far. In addition, we will discuss the status of the change, through the quantitative analysis of three geographically and chronologically separated glossaries (Lorimer, Hallberg, Septfonds).

Affiliations: 1: University of Maryland


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