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Investigating Obsolescence
Studies in Language Contraction and Death

$146.00

Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language

Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, David Bradley, Seosamh Watson, Einar Haugen, Lois Kuter, Aleya Rouchdy, Elizabeth Mertz, Lukas D. Tsitsipis, Ruth King, Jane H. Hill, Allan R. Taylor, Lyle Campbell, Martha C. Muntzel, Eric P. Hamp, Marion Lois Huffines, Katrin Maandi, Marianne Mithun, Aleya Rouchdy, Edith L. Bavin, Raymond Mougeon, Edouard Beniak, Susan Gal, Lise Menn, Henry M. Hoenigwald, Kathryn A. Woolard, Suzanne Romaine, Roger W. Anderson
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  • Date Published: July 1989
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521324052

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About the Authors
  • Over the past 500 years, half the known languages of the world have vanished. This comprehensive overview of the study of contracting and dying languages, composed of twenty essays, investigates the wide scope of languages currently under threat of extinction. These disappearances occur in diverse speech communities where the expanding languages are both familiar, such as English or Spanish, and less familiar, such as Swedish, Thai and Arabic. The volume concludes with a look at how research into language obsolescence may affect other aspects of linguistics and anthropology--first and second language acquisition, historical linguistics, the study of pidgins and creoles, language and social process.

    • Highly respected editor and contributors (American and European), several of whom are Press authors
    • Interest in this topic growing,
    • With broader coverage than older series titles, this book brings together concerns of anthropologists and sociologists in linguistics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "It is an interesting, provocative, and generally well-written book, and it is certainly time that we knew more about what happens to languages when they die....The book is very well planned, and suggests a model for other collections." Language

    "It is only fitting that a preeminent pioneer in language obsolescence studies--Nancy Dorian--should be the editor of this impressive set of essays devoted exclusively to the topic of contracting languages....this data-rich collection of essays has succeeded in outlining the boundaries of a dynamic and relatively new arena of socio-linguistic research, has posed numerous, sometimes perplexing, questions about the very definition of 'a language' or 'a speaker,' has documented problems and trouble spots to beware of in carrying out research on contracting languages, has offered an inventory of traits--linguistic and social--that one may expect to encounter in such research situations, and has brought into relief both widespread and particular aspects of languages in retreat. I would expect it to become a classic text in this rapidly developing field of interdisciplinary research." Lenora A. Timm, Word

    "In her preface Dorian states that the primary goal of the book is to put researchers interested in language death in touch with one another and to disseminate basic information about the field. As a valuable overview of research on dying languages, Investigating Obsolescence accomplishes these goals admirably....a fascinating piece of scholarship on many counts....It is both a stepping stone and a milestone--a stepping stone because it promotes the field's advancement by giving an overview of important research, a milestone because it establishes a more coherent agenda in a disparate and still emerging field." Carl S. Blyth, Anthropological Linguistics

    "This well-documented book serves best as a starting point for further research. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries." Library Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1989
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521324052
    • length: 460 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.84kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of maps
    List of contributors
    Preface
    Introduction
    Part I. Focus on Context:
    1. On language death in eastern Africa Gerrit J. Dimmendaal
    2. The disappearance of the Ugong in Thailand David Bradley
    3. Scottish and Irish Gaelic: the giant's bed-fellows Seosamh Watson
    4. The rise and fall of an immigrant language: Norwegian in America Einar Haugen
    5. Breton vs. French: language and the opposition of political, economic, social, and cultural values Lois Kuter
    6. 'Persistence' or 'tip' in Egyptian Nubian Aleya Rouchdy
    7. Sociolinguistic creativity: Cape Breton Gaelic's linguistic 'tip' Elizabeth Mertz
    8. Skewed performance and full performance in language obsolescence: the case of an Albanian variety Lukas D. Tsitsipis
    9. On the social meaning of linguistic variability in language death situations: variation in Newfoundland French Ruth King
    10. The social functions of relativization in obsolescent and non-obsolescent languages Jane H. Hill
    Part II. Focus on Structure:
    11. Problems in obsolescence research: the Gros Ventres of Montana Allan R. Taylor
    12. The structural consequences of language death Lyle Campbell and Martha C. Muntzel
    13. On signs of health and death Eric P. Hamp
    14. Case usage among the Pennsylvania German sectarians and nonsectarians Marion Lois Huffines
    15. Estonian among immigrants in Sweden Katrin Maandi
    16. The incipient obsolescence of polysynthesis: Cayuga in Ontario and Oklahoma Marianne Mithun
    17. Urban and non-urban Egyptian Nubian: is there a reduction in language skill? Aleya Rouchdy
    18. Some lexical and morphological changes in Warlpiri Edith L. Bavin
    19. Language contraction and linguistic change: the case of Welland French Raymond Mougeon and Edouard Beniak
    20. Lexical innovation and loss: the use and value of restricted Hungarian Susan Gal
    Part III. Invited Commentaries:
    21. Some people who don't talk right: universal and particular in child language, aphasia, and language obsolescence Lise Menn
    22. Language obsolescence and language history: matters of linearity, leveling, loss, and the like Henry M. Hoenigwald
    23. Language convergence and language death as social processes Kathryn A. Woolard
    24. Pidgins, creoles, immigrant, and dying languages Suzanne Romaine
    25. The 'up' and 'down' staircase in secondary language development Roger W. Anderson
    Bibliography
    Index of languages
    General index.

  • Editor

    Nancy C. Dorian
    fm.author_biographical_note1

    Contributors

    Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, David Bradley, Seosamh Watson, Einar Haugen, Lois Kuter, Aleya Rouchdy, Elizabeth Mertz, Lukas D. Tsitsipis, Ruth King, Jane H. Hill, Allan R. Taylor, Lyle Campbell, Martha C. Muntzel, Eric P. Hamp, Marion Lois Huffines, Katrin Maandi, Marianne Mithun, Aleya Rouchdy, Edith L. Bavin, Raymond Mougeon, Edouard Beniak, Susan Gal, Lise Menn, Henry M. Hoenigwald, Kathryn A. Woolard, Suzanne Romaine, Roger W. Anderson

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