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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Ossetic is an Iranian language spoken by around half a million people (Census 2002) mostly in the North Caucasus, in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, part of Russia, and in the adjacent region of South Ossetia beyond the Caucasian mountain range. Ossetic is descended from a language spoken by a subgroup of the Alans, a tribe of Sarmatian origin, which has found refuge in the highlands of the Caucasus following the invasions of the Mongols and Tamerlane. Centuries-long contact with neighboring peoples speaking Northwest Caucasian, Northeast Caucasian, South Caucasian, and Turkic languages has made a considerable impact on Ossetic phonology, grammar, and lexicon. Ossetic is a textbook example of an Indo-European language in a foreign linguistic environment, and therefore its data are highly important for the typology of language contact.

Keywords: Ossetic, Iranian, Caucasian, Russian, Georgian, Turkic, loanword, metatypy

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