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“Mountain of Tongues”

The Languages of the Caucasus in Arabic-Islamic Sources

Andrii Danylenko    Pace University, New York, USA    

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abstract

The paper is devoted to the linguistic diversity of the Caucasus as reflected in the writing of Arab-Muslim geographers and historians. Dealing with the locus classicus jabal al-alsun ‘mountain of tongues’ in the output of Arab-Muslim authors, the author juxtaposes the current state of the study of Caucasus polyglossia with the description of the jumble of languages in the works of Ibn al-Faqīh, al-Mas‘ūdī, Abū al-Fidā’, al-Muhallabī and other authors. Outlining some parallels in Graeco-Roman historians, the author concludes that the diversity of languages spoken in the Caucasus as described by Arab-Muslim geographers appears to be in concord with the degree of the linguistic diversity as conceived today in areal-typological studies.

Published
Dec. 21, 2021
Accepted
June 30, 2021
Submitted
March 4, 2021
Language
EN
ISBN (PRINT)
978-88-6969-551-3
ISBN (EBOOK)
978-88-6969-550-6

Keywords: Areal-typological studiesJabal al-alsun ‘mountain of tongues’Jabal al-alsun ‘mountain of tongues’Arab-Muslim geographersLinguistic diversityCaucasian languages

Copyright: © 2021 Andrii Danylenko. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.