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Linguistic diversity in space and time

Author: Johanna Nichols
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [1992]. ©1992
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Scholars have long sought to discover whether there is a detectable genetic relationship among the world's languages, whether linguistic methods can demonstrate that all of the world's languages evolved from a single "mother tongue." In this book, Johanna Nichols offers original and important material that is likely to change significantly the way this exploration is conducted." "For over a century, the comparative
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Johanna Nichols
ISBN: 0226580563 9780226580562
OCLC Number: 24907586
Description: xv, 358 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: List of Illustrations --
List of Tables --
Acknowledgments --
Note on Transcription and Abbreviations --
1. Introduction --
2. Favored and Disfavored Grammatical Patterns --
3. Correlations between Types --
4. Correlations of Structural Types with Grammatical Categories --
5. Diachronic Stability: Genetic and Areal --
6. The Role of Geography: Structural Affinities between Areas --
7. Linguistic Diversity: Geographical Distribution --
8. Diversity and Linguistic Prehistory: Conclusions and Open Questions --
App. 1 Sample Languages --
App. 2 Data: Language (by Area) and Structural Features --
App. 3 Alphabetical List of Languages --
App. 4 Frequency and Distribution of Voice Systems --
Notes --
References --
Indexes.
Responsibility: Johanna Nichols.
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Abstract:

This volume proposes means of describing, comparing, and interpreting linguistic diversity, both genetic and structural, providing the foundations for a theory of diversity based upon popular science.

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    schema:reviewBody ""Scholars have long sought to discover whether there is a detectable genetic relationship among the world's languages, whether linguistic methods can demonstrate that all of the world's languages evolved from a single "mother tongue." In this book, Johanna Nichols offers original and important material that is likely to change significantly the way this exploration is conducted." "For over a century, the comparative method has been the principle analytic tool in the reconstruction of prehistoric languages from which historically attested languages have developed. This method looks for regular laws which govern sound correspondences among the cognate words of related languages." "The problem with cross-linguistic work based on theories of sameness is that it is necessarily limited to seeking genetic relatedness and reducing structural variety to types. It is restricted to shallow time depths and cannot draw inferences from diversity. But unless it is fairly well understood in what ways languages may group and differ over great depths of time within a geographical area, speculation about whether a certain isolated shared feature signals a genetic relationship is futile. In this groundbreaking book, Nichols proposes means of describing, comparing, and interpreting linguistic diversity, both genetic and structural, and thereby provides the foundations for a theory of diversity based upon population science."" ;
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