How are relationships established among the world's languages? This is one of the most topical and most controversial questions in contemporary linguistics. The central aims of the book are to answer this question, to cut through the controversies, and to contribute to research in distant genetic relationships. In doing this the authors show how the methods have been employed, revealing which methods, techniques, and strategies have proven successful and which ones have proven ineffective. The book seeks to determine how particular language families were established and offers an evaluation of several of the most prominent and more controversial proposals of distant genetic relationship (such as Amerind, Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Proto-World, and others). Finally, the authors make recommendations for practice in future research. This book will contribute significantly to understanding language classification in general.
LYLE CAMPBELL is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah.
WILLIAM J. POSER is Adjunct Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia.
History and Method
Lyle Campbell and William J. Poser
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
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© Lyle Campbell and William J. Poser 2008
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First published 2008
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Language classification: history and method / by Lyle Campbell and William J. Poser.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-88005-3 (hardback)
1. Comparative linguistics. 2. Language and languages–Classification. I. Poser, William John. II. Title.
ISBN 978-0-521-88005-3 hardback
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|List of figures, tables, and charts||page vi|
|1||Introduction: how are languages shown to be related to one another?||1|
|2||The beginning of comparative linguistics||13|
|3||“Asiatic Jones, Oriental Jones”: Sir William Jones’ role in the raise of comparative linguistics||32|
|4||Consolidation of comparative linguistics||48|
|5||How some languages were shown to belong to Indo-European||74|
|6||Comparative linguistics of other language families and regions||87|
|7||How to show languages are related: the methods||162|
|8||The philosophical–psychological–typological–evolutionary approach to language relationships||224|
|9||Assessment of proposed distant genetic relationships||234|
|10||Beyond the comparative method?||297|
|11||Why and how do languages diversify and spread?||330|
|12||What can we learn about the earliest human language by comparing languages known today?||364|
|13||Conclusions: anticipating the future||394|
|Appendix: Hypothesized distant genetic relationships||404|
Figures, tables, and charts
|5.1 The Indo-European family tree||page 84|
|6.1 The Uralic family tree||89|
|6.2 The Austronesian family tree||100|
|7.1 Matching forms of the verb ‘to be’ across Indo-European languages||181|
|7.2 Quechua–Finnish accidental morphological similarities||185|
|7.3 Coincidences between Proto-Eastern Miwokan and Late Common Indo-European||188|
|7.4 The FIRE ‘word family’ in Sahaptian–Klamath–Tsimshian comparison||211|
|7.5 Borrowings of Salishan pronominal suffixes into Alsea||220|
|9.1 Greenberg’s Indo-Pacific pronominal markers for each person||291|
|10.1 Misassigned and underrepresented numeral classifiers in Nichols (1992)||314|
|12.1 Comparison of English, Hindi, and Maori forms||382|
|11.1 Larger and smaller languages in the same geographical area||335|
|11.2 Spread and non-spread language families with and without agriculture||340|
We would like to thank a number of friends and colleagues for answering specific questions, for providing comments and feedback on particular issues, or for helping us to obtain access to materials. We do not mean, however, to imply that any of them is necessarily in agreement with what we have written, and certainly all mistakes are our own. We sincerely thank:
M. Lionel Bender
We also acknowledge the support of a Marsden grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand, awarded to Lyle Campbell, which aided significantly in the preparation of this book.
We began talking together and thinking about the subject matter of this book when we prepared a paper for the Spring Workshop in Reconstruction in 1991, held at the University of Pittsburgh. We later decided to write this book, but were not able to do that until now due to other obligations. With respect to the division of labor, William Poser is primarily responsible for the writing of Chapter 5, part of Chapter 3, and parts of Chapter 4 (especially sections 4.8 and 4.11). Lyle Campbell is the principal author of the other chapters and sections of this book.