Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology
Robert M. W. Dixon
OUP Oxford, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 355 pages
Languages can be similar in many ways - they can resemble each other in categories, constructions and meanings, and in the actual forms used to express these. A shared feature may be based on common genetic origin, or result from geographic proximity and borrowing. Some aspects of grammar are spread more readily than others. The question is - which are they? When languages are in contact with each other, what changes do we expect to occur in their grammatical structures? Only an inductively based cross-linguistic examination can provide an answer. This is what this volume is about. The book starts with a typological introduction outlining principles of contact-induced change and factors which facilitate diffusion of linguistic traits. It is followed by twelve studies of contact-induced changes in languages from Amazonia, East and West Africa, Australia, East Timor, and the Sinitic domain. Set alongside these are studies of Pennsylvania German spoken by Mennonites in Canada in contact with English, Basque in contact with Romance languages in Spain and France, and language contact in the Balkans. All the studies are based on intensive fieldwork, and each cast in terms of the typological parameters set out in the introduction. The book includes a glossary to facilitate its use by graduates and advanced undergraduates in linguistics and in disciplines such as anthropology.
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