Areal Diffusion and Genetic Inheritance: Problems in Comparative Linguistics
Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, Robert M. W. Dixon
Oxford University Press, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 453 pages
Two languages can resemble each other in the categories, constructions, and types of meaning they use; and in the forms they employ to express these. Such resemblances may be the consequence of universal characteristics of language, of chance or coincidence, of the borrowing by one language ofanother's words, or of the diffusion of grammatical, phonetic, and phonological characteristics that takes place when languages come into contact. Languages sometimes show likeness because they have borrowed not from each other but from a third language. Languages that come from the same ancestormay have similar grammatical categories and meanings expressed by similar forms: such languages are said to be genetically affiliated. This book considers how and why forms and meanings of different languages at different times may resemble one another. Its editors and authors aim (a) to explain and identify the relationship between areal diffusion and the genetic development of languages, and (b) to discover the means ofdistinguishing what may cause one language to share the characteristics of another. The introduction outlines the issues that underlie these aims, introduces the chapters which follow, and comments on recurrent conclusions by the contributors. The problems are formidable and the pitfalls numerous:for example, several of the authors draw attention to the inadequacy of the family tree diagram as the main metaphor for language relationship. The authors range over Ancient Anatolia, Modern Anatolia, Australia, Amazonia, Oceania, Southeast and East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The book includes an archaeologist's view on what material evidence offers to explain cultural and linguistic change, and a general discussion of which kinds oflinguistic feature can and cannot be borrowed. The chapters are accessibly-written and illustrated by twenty maps. The book will interest all students of the causes and consequences of language change and evolution.
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ACQUIRE African Aikhenvald Anatolia Arawak languages areal diffusion Asian Australian languages Austronesian Baniwa Bantu Bora borrowing bound pronouns Burmese Cambridge Cantonese case-marking Chapter China Chinese classifiers cognate common comparative complement constructions contact-induced change convergence cultural dialects discussion distinction Dixon edited enclitic ergative example genetic grammatical grammaticalization groups historical Indo-European inflection influence innovations Kurmanji Lahu language contact language families lect lexical lexicon linguistic linguistic area Mandarin marker Martuthunira Matisoff metatypy Mon-Khmer morphemes morphological MSEA nasal Niger-Congo nominal Northern noun Pacific Linguistics Pama–Nyungan patterns phonational phonetic phonological Pilbara Pilbara languages postverbal prefixes pronominal reconstruction region relationship Resigaro result Ross schema semantic shared similar simple verbs Sinitic languages Sino-Tibetan Sinospheric South-East Asia Southern Southern Min speakers spoken structure subgroups suffix syllables syntactic Table Tai languages Taiwanese Tariana Tibeto-Burman languages tonal tone Tucano Tucano languages Turkish typological University Press Vietnamese vowel Waskia word Zazaki