chapter  6
Other Isolated Languages of Asia
ByStefan Georg
Pages 23

The classification of Asian languages may seem, at first sight, fairly settled and uncontroversial, but a closer look reveals that some of the bigger families, which are mostly cited in reference works and encyclopediae, are not without problems. The Yeniseic family and its sole survivor stick out from their neighbouring languages, in fact from all languages and families of native Siberia, by a great number of typological peculiarities and areal singularities. No Ket verb form can be correctly parsed without recourse to one of the numerous morpho-phonotactic rules of the language. The highly endangered Yukaghir language of North-Eastern Siberia is routinely included among the Palaeoasiatic languages as well. The elusive Kusunda language is spoken in Nepal's mid-Western Gorkha district by, today, at best a handful of persons. No linguist was able to establish any contact with Kusunda speakers for some decades to follow this, and the language and its speakers were widely regarded as extinct.