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The Rise and Fall of Languages
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  • Cited by 95
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Nikitina, Tatiana 2018. When Linguists and Speakers Do Not Agree: The Endangered Grammar of Verbal Art in West Africa. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Vol. 28, Issue. 2, p. 197.

    Mendívil-Giró, José-Luis 2018. Why Don't Languages Adapt to Their Environment?. Frontiers in Communication, Vol. 3, Issue. ,

    Warf, Barney 2018. Handbook of the Changing World Language Map. p. 1.

    Bouckaert, Remco R. Bowern, Claire and Atkinson, Quentin D. 2018. The origin and expansion of Pama–Nyungan languages across Australia. Nature Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 2, Issue. 4, p. 741.

    Gavin, Michael C. Rangel, Thiago F. Bowern, Claire Colwell, Robert K. Kirby, Kathryn R. Botero, Carlos A. Dunn, Michael Dunn, Robert R. McCarter, Joe Pacheco Coelho, Marco Túlio and Gray, Russell D. 2017. Process-based modelling shows how climate and demography shape language diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 26, Issue. 5, p. 584.

    Borchsenius, Finn Daval-Markussen, Aymeric and Bakker, Peter 2017. Creole Studies – Phylogenetic Approaches. p. 35.

    Benítez-Burraco, Antonio 2017. Commentary: Ancient genomes show social and reproductive behavior of early Upper Paleolithic foragers. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 8, Issue. ,

    Comrie, Bernard 2017. The Handbook of Linguistics. p. 21.

    Tsuda, Yukio 2017. The International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication. p. 1.

    Ningyang, Chen 2017. Contemporary Notes on the Changing Language Landscape. Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences,

    Drakopoulos, Georgios Stathopoulou, Fotini Tzimas, Giannis Paraskevas, Michael Mylonas, Phivos and Sioutas, Spyros 2017. Engineering Applications of Neural Networks. Vol. 744, Issue. , p. 630.

    Ningyang, Chen 2017. Contemporary Notes on the Changing Language Landscape. Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 409.

    Nicolaï, Robert 2017. Signifier. Essai sur la mise en signification.

    Steels, Luc 2017. Human language is a culturally evolving system. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Vol. 24, Issue. 1, p. 190.

    Cabrera, Frank 2017. Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics. Mind & Language, Vol. 32, Issue. 1, p. 65.

    Pulla, Siomonn 2017. Mobile Learning and Indigenous Education in Canada. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, Vol. 9, Issue. 2, p. 39.

    Lian, Arild 2016. Language Evolution and Developmental Impairments. p. 1.

    2016. Revitalising Language in Provence: A Critical Approach. Transactions of the Philological Society, Vol. 114, Issue. , p. 1.

    Danylenko, Andrii 2016. Oleksandr Popov (1855–80) and the Reconstruction of Indo-European Noun Inflection. Language & History, Vol. 59, Issue. 2, p. 112.

    Steels, Luc 2016. Agent-based models for the emergence and evolution of grammar. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 371, Issue. 1701, p. 20150447.


Book description

This book puts forward a different approach to language change, the punctuated equilibrium model. This is based on the premise that during most of the 100,000 or more years that humans have had language, states of equilibrium have existed during which linguistic features diffused across the languages in a given area so that they gradually converged on a common prototype. From time to time, the state of equilibrium would be punctuated, with expansion and split of peoples and of languages, most recently, as a result of European colonisation and the globalisation of communication which are likely to result in the extinction, within the next hundred years, of 90% of the languages currently spoken. Professor Dixon suggests that every linguist should assume a responsibility for documenting some of these languages before they disappear.


‘I recommend this publication be read by all linguists no matter what their field of interests or specialization are. D’s style is witty and to the point, but more relevantly, his previous achievements qualify him to serve as the ideal spokesman on these most significant and sensitive issues, as linguistics enters the new millennium.’

Alan S. Kaye - California State University, Fullerton

‘It is a work which anyone interested in the prehistory of languages will wish to read. I predict that it will have a significant and healthy influence upon the development of research in this area and in historical linguistics as a whole.’

Source: Cambridge Archaeological Journal

‘Certainly the most refreshing and stimulating work in the field of historical linguistics I have had the pleasure of reading.’

Colin Renfrew Source: Cambridge Archaeology

‘Ground-breaking work in the true sense of the term.’

Robert Orr Source: Diachronica

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