Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative by Claire Bowern PDF

By Claire Bowern

ISBN-10: 1588115127

ISBN-13: 9781588115126

ISBN-10: 9027247617

ISBN-13: 9789027247612

ISBN-10: 9027295115

ISBN-13: 9789027295118

This e-book addresses arguable matters within the program of the comparative option to the languages of Australia that have lately come to overseas prominence. Are those languages 'different' in ways in which problem the basic assumptions of ancient linguistics? Can subgrouping be effectively undertaken utilizing the Comparative approach? Is the genetic build of a far-flung 'Pama-Nyungan' language kinfolk supportable by means of vintage tools of reconstruction? opposite to more and more confirmed perspectives of the Australian scene, this booklet makes a massive contribution to the demonstration that conventional equipment can certainly be utilized to those languages. those stories, brought by way of chapters on subgrouping method and the historical past of Australian linguistic class, conscientiously practice the comparative solution to setting up subgroups between Australian languages and justifying the phonology of Proto-Pama-Nyungan. person chapters can profitably be learn both for his or her contribution to Australian linguistic prehistory or as case reviews within the program of the comparative approach.

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28 of these families are located in the northwest (Kimberley District) and central north of the continent. The remaining family, for which Hale proposed the name ‘PamaNyungan’ after the terms for “man/person” in the Cape York Peninsula and southwest respectively, occupied the rest of the continent plus the western Torres Strait Islands. This far-flung family was divided into 33 groups, 67 subgroups, and 160 languages (OVV 1966:29). A methodological history of Australian linguistic classification 33 Languages and sometimes subgroups were named after local words for “person” or “man”, following the practice of Schmidt.

The specific information on which these reclassifications were made is not indicated. We cannot know whether Wurm: (a) made new calculations on the basis of improved 100-word lists, (b) used the lexicostatistical figures provided by the relevant field linguists, or (c) merely relied on these linguists’ judgements of language relations. Many of the reclassified languages were discussed in Dixon (1970a). Dixon’s lexical scores are based on a 221-word list, from which at least 180 items were used for each pair of languages (ibid.

He cites ‘three important points’ (Schmidt 1919a:73). All are structural features which are shared by these languages but are absent in neighbouring languages. The first two are of a phonotactic nature: words may begin with l or end with plosive consonants and even consonant clusters. The third is syntactic: the possessor in noun phrases is postposed to the noun it modifies only in this linguis- A methodological history of Australian linguistic classification 21 tic group. The sharing of lexical items is offered as supplementary evidence.

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Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method by Claire Bowern


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