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Dispersals and Diversification

Linguistic and Archaeological Perspectives on the Early Stages of Indo-European

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Edited by Matilde Serangeli and Thomas Olander

Dispersals and diversification offers linguistic and archaeological perspectives on the disintegration of Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of the Indo-European language family.
Two chapters discuss the early phases of the disintegration of Proto-Indo-European from an archaeological perspective, integrating and interpreting the new evidence from ancient DNA. Six chapters analyse the intricate relationship between the Anatolian branch of Indo-European, probably the first one to separate, and the remaining branches. Three chapters are concerned with the most important unsolved problems of Indo-European subgrouping, namely the status of the postulated Italo-Celtic and Graeco-Armenian subgroups. Two chapters discuss methodological problems with linguistic subgrouping and with the attempt to correlate linguistics and archaeology.

Contributors are David W. Anthony, Rasmus Bjørn, José L. García Ramón, Riccardo Ginevra, Adam Hyllested, James A. Johnson, Kristian Kristiansen, H. Craig Melchert, Matthew Scarborough, Peter Schrijver, Matilde Serangeli, Zsolt Simon, Rasmus Thorsø, Michael Weiss.

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Edited by Egbert Fortuin, Peter Houtzagers and Janneke Kalsbeek

Every five years, on the occasion of the International Congress of Slavists, a volume appears that presents a comprehensive overview of current Slavic linguistic research in the Netherlands. Like its predecessors, the present collection covers a variety of topics: Bulgarian and Polish aspectology (Barentsen, Genis), Slavic historical linguistics (Kortlandt, Vermeer), pragmatics of tense usage in Old Russian (Dekker), dialect description (Houtzagers), L2 acquisition (Tribushinina & Mak), Russian foreigners’ speech imitation (Peeters & Arkema), corpus-based semantics (Fortuin & Davids) and theoretical work on negation (Keijsper, Van Helden). As can be seen from this list, the majority of the contributions in this peer-reviewed volume displays the data-oriented tradition of Dutch Slavic linguistics, but studies of a more theoretical nature are also represented.

Grammaticalising the Perfect and Explanations of Language Change

Have- and Be-Perfects in the History and Structure of English and Bulgarian

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Bozhil Hristov

In Grammaticalising the Perfect and Explanations of Language Change: Have- and Be-Perfects in the History and Structure of English and Bulgarian, Bozhil Hristov investigates key aspects of the verbal systems of two distantly related Indo-European languages, highlighting similarities as well as crucial differences between them and seeking a unified approach.

The book reassesses some long-held notions and functionalist assumptions and shines the spotlight on certain areas that have received less attention, such as the role of ambiguity in actual usage. The detailed analysis of rich, contextualised material from a selection of texts dovetails with large-scale corpus studies, complementing their findings and enhancing our understanding of the phenomena. This monograph thus presents a happy marriage of traditional philological techniques and recent advances in theoretical linguistics and corpus work.

Language and Chronology

Text dating by machine learning

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Edited by Gregory Toner and Xiwu Han

In Language and Chronology, Toner and Han apply innovative Machine Learning techniques to the problem of the dating of literary texts. Many ancient and medieval literatures lack reliable chronologies which could aid scholars in locating texts in their historical context. The new machine-learning method presented here uses chronological information gleaned from annalistic records to date a wide range of texts. The method is also applied to multi-layered texts to aid the identification of different chronological strata within single copies.
While the algorithm is here applied to medieval Irish material of the period c.700-c.1700, it can be extended to written texts in any language or alphabet. The authors’ approach presents a step change in Digital Humanities, moving us beyond simple querying of electronic texts towards the production of a sophisticated tool for literary and historical studies.

The Precursors of Proto-Indo-European

The Indo-Anatolian and Indo-Uralic Hypotheses

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Edited by Alwin Kloekhorst and Tijmen Pronk

In The Precursors of Proto-Indo-European some of the world’s leading experts in historical linguistics shed new light on two hypotheses about the prehistory of the Indo-European language family, the so-called Indo-Anatolian and Indo-Uralic hypotheses. The Indo-Anatolian hypothesis states that the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European family should be viewed as a sister language of ‘classical’ Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of all the other, non-Anatolian branches. The common ancestor of all Indo-European languages, including Anatolian, can then be called Proto-Indo-Anatolian. The Indo-Uralic hypothesis states that the closest genetic relative of Indo-European is the Uralic language family, and that both derive from a common ancestor called Proto-Indo-Uralic. The book unravels the history of these hypotheses and scrutinizes the evidence for and against them.

Contributors are Stefan H. Bauhaus, Rasmus G. Bjørn, Dag Haug, Petri Kallio, Simona Klemenčič, Alwin Kloekhorst, Frederik Kortlandt, Guus Kroonen, Martin J. Kümmel, Milan Lopuhaä-Zwakenberg, Alexander Lubotsky, Rosemarie Lühr, Michaël Peyrot, Tijmen Pronk, Andrei Sideltsev, Michiel de Vaan, Mikhail Zhivlov.

Towards a Theory of Denominals

A Look at Incorporation, Phrasal Spell-Out and Spanning

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Adina Camelia Bleotu

In Towards a Theory of Denominals, Adina Camelia Bleotu takes a comparative look at denominal verbs in English and Romanian from various theoretical frameworks such as lexical decomposition, distributed morphology, nanosyntax and spanning. The book proposes a novel spanning analysis, arguing for its explanatory superiority to incorporation/conflation or nanosyntax in accounting for the formation and behaviour of denominals. It provides useful empirical insights, drawing from rich data from English discussed widely in the relevant literature, but also presenting novel data from Romanian not explored in detail before. Many interesting theoretical issues are also discussed, such as the (lack of) correlation between the (un)boundedness of the nominal root and the (a)telicity of the resulting verb, the verb/ satellite-framed distinction and others.

Dov Cohen and Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald

Abstract

It is commonly accepted that Hilkhot Sheḥiṭa u-Vdika (literally, ‘The Laws of Ritual Slaughter and Examination’—Constantinople ca. 1510) was the first publication ever printed in Judeo-Spanish. Yet scholars possessed no evidence that the work actually existed, and no information was available regarding its contents or language. Recently, however, the first four pages of the publication were discovered among the remnants of the Cairo Genizah. The current study is a preliminary description of this publication’s historical bibliography, halakhic sources, structure and contents, orthography and spelling (which reflect untrained writing and inconsistent pronunciation), and its special vocabulary, including the Hebrew component, which specifically relates to religion.

Gabi Abramac

Abstract

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) seeks to protect and promote regional and minority languages in Europe. The objectives and principles defined by the Charter include the recognition of regional and minority languages as cultural assets. The Charter also commits the signatories to promote the study of, and research on, regional and minority languages. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Charter in 2005 and officially ratified it in 2010, applying it to seventeen regional and minority languages including Ladino and Yiddish. This paper examines the disparity between the obligations entered into and the actual state of affairs. It also investigates the linguistic repertoire and language ideologies of the Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the extent and nature of its interest in revitalizing Ladino.

Tamari Lomtadze and Reuven Enoch

Abstract

The Judeo-Georgian language has not yet been fully studied. Up to the end of the 20th century, only religion, traditions, and customs had been considered key identity markers of Georgian Jews. The first comprehensive scholarly works relating to Judeo-Georgian appeared at the turn of the century. This article builds on previous research on the speech varieties of Georgian Jews. The purpose of the present article is to demonstrate that alongside religion, customs, traditions, and culture, language was one of the main identity markers of the Jews in Georgia. The variety of Georgian spoken by the Jews differed from standard Georgian in prosodic (intonational), grammatical, and lexical features. The sociocultural and ethnolinguistic distinctiveness of their speech was reflected primarily in the use of Hebraisms.

Bryan Kirschen

Abstract

This study implements the Leipzig-Jakarta list as a word-elicitation task among speakers (n=20) of Judeo-Spanish in South Florida. Data demonstrate that while entirely different lexemes may be used to express similar meanings for a given token, variation is most demonstrable through phonological processes. An analysis of responses (n=2,000) reveals variation and innovation in the production of vowels (mid-vowel raising, apheresis, prothesis), consonants (de/voicing or palatalization of sibilants, preservation of etymological f–, metathesis), and stress (proparoxytonic vs. oxytonic). Data also reveal that of the basic lexicon in Judeo-Spanish (e.g., function words, body parts, living creatures, etc.), only 5% is of non-Hispanic origin. In addition, this study examines the sociolinguistic organization of Sephardim in South Florida, accounting for the vitality and endangerment of Judeo-Spanish in this diasporic community, while also exemplifying the linguistic ramifications of contact with other languages.