chapter  5
Burushaski
ByAlexander D. Smith
Pages 22

Burushaski is a language isolate spoken in four areas: three in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan and one in the Indian state of Jammu and in Indian Kashmir. The three dialects of Pakistan are Yasin, Hunza, and Nagar, each named after the valleys in which they are spoken. Burushaski is an isolate. Although numerous attempts have been made to link Burushaski to known language families, none has been successful at convincing most linguists. Burushaski has a rich inventory of consonants, including contrasts between dental and retroflex stops, eight affricates, seven fricatives, thirteen plosives, and a retroflex rhotacized fricative. Burushaski is a typical head-final language, with agglutinative verb morphology, subject agreement, and pronoun drop. Relative clauses in Burushaski are also head final. The head noun that is modified by the relative clause appears at the end of the relative sentence, followed by the main clause.