Deutsch Intern
Chair of Comparative Philology

Dr. des. Jakob Halfmann

Project staff
Oswald-Külpe-Weg 84
D-97074 Würzburg

Research interests

Paths and mechanisms of language change (sound change, morphosyntactic change); language relationship and comparative reconstruction  Nuristani languages (language description and history); Middle Iranian languages (Bactrian, epigraphy of the Issyk-Kushan script); Semitic, Afro-Asiatic, Northeast Caucasian and Mesoamerican languages.

Short biography

Jakob Halfmann studied Linguistics and Languages & Cultures of the Islamic World in Leipzig, Tokyo and Cologne. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cologne in 2023 with a dissertation titled “A Grammatical Description of the Katë Language (Nuristani)”. As part of a research project funded by the German Research Foundation within the Walter Benjamin program he is currently working on an etymological dictionary of the Nuristani nominal lexicon.


An Etymological Dictionary of the Nuristani Nominal Lexicon


Halfmann, Jakob. Im Druck. The diachronic typology of retroflex vowels. Wird erscheinen in: Kennard, Holly, Emily Lindsay-Smith, Aditi Lahiri & Martin Maiden (Hrsg.), Historical Linguistics 2022. Selected Papers from the 25th ICHL, Oxford 1-5 August 2022. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Halfmann, Jakob. 2023. Nuristani theonyms in light of historical phonology. In Alberto Cacopardo & Augusto Cacopardo (Hrsg.), Roots of Peristan: The Pre-Islamic Cultures of the Hindukush/Karakorum. Proceedings of the International Interdisciplinary Conference, ISMEO, Rome, Palazzo Baleani, 5-7 October, 2022 (Serie Orientale Roma n. s. 37)Bd. I317–358. Rom: ISMEO / Scienze e Lettere.

Halfmann, Jakob. 2023. Lād ‘law’ – a Bactrian loanword in the Nuristani languages. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (BSOAS).

Halfmann, Jakob, Svenja Bonmann, Simon Fries & Natalie Korobzow. 2023. A New Reading of the Bactrian Part of the Dašt-i Nāwur Trilingual (DN I). Indo-Iranian Journal 67(1): 5-51. DOI: 10.1163/15728536-06701005.

Bonmann, Svenja, Jakob Halfmann, Natalie Korobzow & Bobomullo Bobomulloev. 2023. A partial decipherment of the unknown Kushan script. Transactions of the Philological Society 121(2). 293-329.

Fries, Simon, Jakob Halfmann, Eugen Hill & Denise Hübner. 2023. From noun to future tense. The functional diachrony of the l-future in the Nuristani languages and its typological background. Language Typology and Universals (STUF) 76(1). 53-85.

Halfmann, Jakob. 2022. Advances in the historical phonology of the Nuristani languages. International Journal of Diachronic Linguistics and Linguistic Reconstruction (IJDL) 19. 113-134.

Halfmann, Jakob. 2021. Terminological proposals for the Nuristani languages. Himalayan Linguistics 20(1). 28-64.