Endangered Language Alliance
Bickel, Balthasar. (1999) “Nominalization and focus constructions in some Kiranti languages” Yadava, Yogendra P. (Ed.) & Glover, Warren G.(Ed.) Published In: “Topics in Nepalese Linguistics.” (pp. 271 – 296) Kathmandu: Royal Nepal Academy.
Bradley, David. “Tibeto-Burman Languages and Classification” Pacific Linguistics. A-86 (1997): 1-72.
Ebert, Karen H. (2003) “Kiranti Languages: An Overview” Thurgood, Graham (Ed.) and Lapolla, Randy J. (Ed.) Published In: “The Sino-Tibetan Languages” (pp. 505 – 517) Routledge. New York, NY.
Konnerth, Linda. Review of: Borchers, Dörte. 2008. “A Grammar of Sunwar: Descriptive grammar, paradigms, texts and glossary.”
Rapacha, Dr Lal-Shyãkarelu. (2008) “Kiranti-Bayung Grammar, Texts and Lexicon” (A report submitted to SIRF, SNV). Kathmandu, Nepal.
Although vowel inventory varies between languages, they all contain the stops /p/, /t/, /k/ and and affricate /ts/. /s/ is the only fricative in Kiranti. The language of Bayung contains the implosives /v/ and /ɓ/.
All languages also distinguish between aspritated and non-aspirated stops as separate phonemes, and some languages use breathy voiced stops where the feature of breathiness can be either optional or mandatory. There are some languages in the north which utilize tone. Only western languages contain initial consonant clusters. Many languages contain unreleased, glottalized stops in syllable final position. Bayung distinguishes between affricated and alveolar consonants as well as dental and non-dental and Sunwar, which previously had phonemic nasalization in vowels is potentially in the process of shifting to free variation between nasal and non-nasal vowels.
Bantawa distinguishes between inclusive and exclusive first person pronouns and dual is signified along with singular or plural in all three persons. The language also does not mark third person for gender. In Sunwar, gender and human third-person is not marked on pronouns, setting it apart from other languages in the Kiranti family.
Noun phrases in Bantawa require qualifiers to express number and which qualifier is used depends on whether the nouns are inanimate, human or nouns representing objects of specific shapes.
Kiranti languages have Subject-Object-Verb order with modifiers coming strictly before heads.
In contrast with the majority of Tibeto-Burman languages, Kiranti languages are less analytical with more morphology on the verb. Bayung, for example, consists of monosyllabic verbal roots from which it derives many of its nouns and adjectives.
Kiranti languages contain case markers for ergative-instrumental, genitive, comitative, locative, and ablative and some languages also contain an allative marker. Some languages such as Bantawa, Camling, Thulung, Khaling and Yamphu also include unique altitudinal case markers which express ‘high’, ‘low’ and ‘level’.
Bantawa is verb final, but the structure aside from the verb can vary. The language has a rich verb morphology with more than 100 different verb paradigms. Verbs can be inflected for agreement of singular, dual, and plural grammatical number, first, second, and third person, and non-first person singular inclusive and exclusive. Since Bantawa has a split ergativitiy pattern, it also shows agreement in transitive finite verbs for patient and agent (Doornenbal, 2009, p. 14)
Bantawa can also form complex verbal predicates which are created from two or more verbs that have been inflected in the same way. The result of this compounding adds semantic meaning such as aspect and direction.
Sunwar uses a sort of reduplication to extend a verb stem where the reduplicated portion has no independent meaning. For example, the verb la-ʃā ‘go-pfv’ can be reduplicated to be la-ʃā-liʃā meaning ‘having gone and so on’.