Colin Masica

Colin P. Masica (born 1931) is professor emeritus in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago. Although ostensibly a specialist in Indo-Aryan languages, his real interest has been in the typological convergence of languages belonging to different linguistic stocks in the South Asian area and beyond (see below), more broadly in this phenomenon in general, and in possible explanations for it and implications of it in connection with both linguistic and cultural history.

At the University of Chicago, he taught Hindi at all levels, and occasionally other South Asian languages, along with North Indian cultural history and literature, for three decades, and published on both Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages. His magna opera are Defining a Linguistic Area: South Asia and The Indo-Aryan Languages. The latter surveyed more than a century of linguistic research on the many Indo-Aryan languages and dialects of North India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It was written as part of the University of Cambridge's surveys of the language families of the world. The former has had a profound influence on the study of India as a linguistic area.

In his seminal Defining a Linguistic Area: South Asia and other writings, Masica has drawn on studies and grammars of both South Asian and non-South Asian languages by various European (especially Russian), British, American, Indian and other Asian scholars, to demonstrate the typological parallels among the Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Munda, Tibeto-Burman languages of South Asia and with the Iranian and Altaic languages (including Korean and Japanese) of Central and Northeast Asia, in comparison with types prevalent beyond this zone.


  • Masica, Colin: "Postverbal subjects in Telugu and other languages", pages 246–73 in Masica, Colin (2007). Old and New Perspectives on South Asian Languages: Grammar and Semantics. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-3208-4.
  • Masica, Colin: "The definition and significance of linguistic areas", pages 205–67 in Singh, Rajendra (2004). The Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-017989-7.
  • Masica, Colin: Alternative embedding strategy in Gujarati. In P.J. Mistry and Bharati Modi, Eds. Vidyopāsanā: Studies in honor of Harivallabh C. Bhayāni. Mumbai-Ahmedabad: Image Publications. 1999. pp. 135–56.
  • Masica, Colin (1993). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29944-2.
  • Masica, Colin: Definiteness marking in South Asian languages. In Krishnamurti, B., Colin P. Masica, Anjani K. Sinha. South Asian Languages: Structure, Convergence and Diglossia Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1986. pp. 123–46.
  • Masica, Colin: Aryan and Non-Aryan elements in North Indian agriculture. In Deshpande, M. M., and P. E. Hook, Eds. Aryan and Non-Aryan in India. Ann Arbor: Karoma. 1979. pp. 55–151.
  • Masica, Colin (2005). Defining a Linguistic Area: South Asia. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-8028-022-1.
  • Zide, N H; Masica, Colin; Bahl, K C (1965). A Premchand Reader. South Asia Language and Area Center, University of Chicago.
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