Athpare, Belhare and Yakkha are three closely related, but clearly distinct
Tibeto-Burman languages within the Kiranti group in the eastern hills of
Nepal. The Kiranti languages, most of them little-known and vanishing
idioms, have become famous for their polysynthetic and "head-governed"
morphosyntax ("complex pronominalization" in earlier literature on
Himalayish). The three languages in question are comparatively closely
related to Limbu as the most important Kiranti language with regard to the
number of speakers (about 200,000 in Nepal).
The glossary presents data compiled within the "Linguistic Survey of Nepal"
(LSN), a German-Nepalese field-project in the 1980s which was the first
linguistic inspection of the Kiranti group in its entirety. The presented
lexical materials are based upon word lists compiled by the late A.K.
Weidert (1981-84 chief supervisor of the LSN) and D.B. Ingwaba Subba
(co-author of Weidert/ Subba: "Concise Limbu Grammar and Dictionary",
Amsterdam 1985: Lobster), a native speaker of Limbu. The unpublished
materials have been enlarged with further LSN-materials compiled and
arranged by W. Winter (erstwhile director of the LSN and head of the
Linguistic Department at the University of Kiel, retired in 1991) and G.
Hansson (1980-86 research assistant of LSN); the ultimate version comprises
a glossary English - Athpare - Belhare - Yakkha with about 850 English
items. The materials include data from lesser-known local varieties of
Yakkha and from the little-known Khalsali-dialect of Athpare, which is
sometimes regarded as a distinct language.
Since further in-depth studies in (Dhankuteli-) Athpare and Belhare have
been carried out in the meantime, most attention in the descriptions is
paid to Yakkha as a little-known language that needs further field-studies
in future. Therefore the editor has added an essay with tentative analyses
in the difficult verb morphology of Yakkha with a systematic list of about
250 extracted verb stems. Yakkha has a developed rather complex
morphophonological patterns (e.g., prenasalization and/ or sonorization of
initial consonants with several grammatical functions) and categorial
features of its own (e.g., a second number-like agreement pattern
"individual vs. mass" between the verbal predicate and the absolutive
besides the common Kiranti pattern of number agreement) which look rather
interesting also for general and typological linguistics.