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What can the languages spoken today tell us about the history of their speakers? This question is crucial in insular Southeast Asia and New Guinea, where thousands of languages are spoken, but written historical records and archaeological evidence is yet lacking in most regions. While the region has a long history of contact through trade, marriage exchanges, and cultural-political dominance, detailed linguistic studies of the effects of such contacts remain limited.
This volume investigates how loanwords can prove past contact events, taking into consideration ten different regions located in the Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and New Guinea. Each chapter studies borrowing across the borders of language families, and discusses implications for the social history of the speech communities.
Grammatical Sketches of Japanese Dialects and Ryukyuan Languages
Volume Editor:
Japanese is definitely one of the best-known languages in typological literature. For example, typologists often assume that Japanese is a nominative-accusative language. However, it is often overlooked that Japanese, or more precisely, Tokyo Japanese, is just one of various local varieties of the Japonic language family (Japanese and Ryukyuan). In fact, the Japonic languages exhibit a surprising typological diversity. For example, some varieties display a split-intransitive as opposed to nominative-accusative system. The present volume is thus a unique attempt to explore the typological diversity of Japonic by providing a collection of grammatical sketches of various local varieties, four from Japanese dialects and five from Ryukyuan. Each grammatical sketch follows the same descriptive format, addressing a wide range of typological topics.
During several decades, syntactic reconstruction has been more or less regarded as a bootless and an unsuccessful venture, not least due to the heavy criticism in the 1970s from scholars like Watkins, Jeffers, Lightfoot, etc. This fallacious view culminated in Lightfoot’s (2002: 625) conclusion: “[i]f somebody thinks that they can reconstruct grammars more successfully and in more widespread fashion, let them tell us their methods and show us their results. Then we’ll eat the pudding.” This volume provides methods for the identification of i) cognates in syntax, and ii) the directionality of syntactic change, showcasing the results in the introduction and eight articles. These examples are offered as both tastier and also more nourishing than the pudding Lightfoot had in mind when discarding the viability of reconstructing syntax.