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The Ecology of Language Evolution
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  • 3 b/w illus. 7 maps 6 tables
  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.41 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 417/.7
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: P140 .M84 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Historical linguistics
    • Creole dialects--History
    • Languages in contact
    • Social ecology

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521794756 | ISBN-10: 0521794757)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$57.99 (P)

This major new work explores the development of creoles and other new languages, focusing on the conceptual and methodological issues they raise for genetic linguistics. Written by an internationally renowned linguist, the book surveys a wide range of examples of changes in the structure, function and vitality of languages, and suggests that similar ecologies have played the same kinds of roles in all cases of language evolution. The Ecology of Language Evolution will be welcomed by students and researchers in sociolinguistics, creolistics, theoretical linguistics and theories of evolution.


1. Introduction; 2. The founder principle in the development of creoles; 3. The development of American Englishes: factoring contact in and the social bias out; 4. The legitimate and illegitimate offspring of English; 5. What research on the development of creoles can contribute to genetic linguistics; 6. Language contact, evolution and death: how ecology rolls the dice; 7. Past and recent population movements in Africa: their impact on its linguistic landscape; 8. Conclusions for the big picture.


"Mufwene's proposals will undoubtedly interest linguists and theorists of evolution alike." Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis

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