Basic vocabulary of closely related languages in contact: case study of Turkic languages on the Crimean Peninsula
Journal of Language Relationship
The present paper provides two case studies of the basic vocabulary of the Turkic languages spoken on the Crimea Peninsula. Its aim is to illuminate the issues that a historical linguist, and in particular a phylogeneticist, faces when analyzing the basic vocabulary of closely related languages in a situation of intensive contact. The first case study is dedicated to the onomasiological reconstruction of the Proto-Karaim Swadesh list. The main problem here is detection of the West Oghuz loans
... d especially of contact-induced archaization (fake archaisms) in Crimean Karaim. The objective of the second case study is to identify the genealogical affiliation of the Crimean Tatar dialects. Both the manual analysis of the innovations in the basic vocabulary and the computational lexicostatistics (Bayesian approach, Neighborjoining, Maximum Parsimony Analysis) confirm the traditional view that the Coastal dialect belongs to the Oghuz subgroup, the Orta dialect -to the West Kipchak subgroup, and the Steppe dialect -to the Nogai Kipchak subgroup. Such affiliations fully fit the documented ethnic history. The correct genealogical affiliation of the dialects in question became possible only after exclusion of all the loans, which has not been done in previous lexicostatistical studies of Crimean Tatar. Both cases show that careful elimination of areal influences is crucial for semantic (onomasiological) reconstruction and phylogenetic studies.