Browse results

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.
In Introduction to Generative Syntax, Muteb Alqarni combines his teaching experience with the research of experts in English syntax and offers the reader a tool to study the developments of syntactic theories since the 1960s until recent times.

In 250 units, Alqarni explores topics commonly encountered in the study of syntax in an accessible and straight-forward manner. Lexicon, phrase structure rules, X'-Theory, Transformational Grammar, Theta Theory, Government and Binding Theory, Raising and Control, Movement Constraints, Split Projections and the Minimalist Program are just some of the topics covered.
In Verbal Aspect in Old Church Slavonic Jaap Kamphuis demonstrates that the aspect system of Old Church Slavonic can best be described if one divides the verbs into three main categories: perfective, imperfective and anaspectual. This differs from the traditional division into perfective and imperfective verbs only. To support the categorization, the study contains a corpus-based quantitative and qualitative analysis of the available Old Church Slavonic data. This analysis contributes to a better understanding of the development of aspect in Slavic. Kamphuis shows that aspect in Old Church Slavonic functions more like verbal aspect in the Western groups of Slavic languages (e.g. Czech) than like that in the Eastern group (e.g. Russian).
Linguistic and Archaeological Perspectives on the Early Stages of Indo-European
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.
Belgrade, August 20-27, 2018.
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.
Have- and Be-Perfects in the History and Structure of English and Bulgarian
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.

Abstract

This paper argues that Alwin Kloekhorst’s arguments against the traditional voiced/voiceless contrast in Anatolian stops are not probative and none of his arguments necessarily require a contrast in length. Moreover, transcriptions and loanwords from half a dozen languages (neglected by Kloekhorst) unequivocally and unambiguously show that Hittite and Luwian stops were always perceived as either voiceless or voiced and never as geminates, pace H.C. Melchert and A. Kloekhorst. In other words, there is no reason to assume that the contrast in Anatolian stops was one of length, and consequently the contrast in voice is neither a shared innovation nor a defining feature of the non-Anatolian Indo-European languages (pace A. Kloekhorst).

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

Mating networks are a new category of measurable human relationships, recently revealed by studies of ancient DNA. Mating networks were regional human populations with distinctive combinations of genetic traits. Because languages usually were learned from the same parental sources that provided genes, languages probably showed at least an equivalent level of regional patterning and diversity. Four genetically defined mating networks are relevant for understanding the genetic characteristics of the steppe populations that probably spoke Proto-Indo-European dialects. These four mating networks are named and described and their changing relationships with each other are reviewed using a combination of archaeological and genetic evidence. The still-undecided question of where the oldest phase of PIE was spoken is reviewed, with suggestions for resolving where and when the separation of Anatolian, the first and oldest split in the Indo-European (IE) language family, occurred.

In: Dispersals and Diversification

Abstract

The semantics of ancient Indo-European noun stems has not yet received enough attention from scholars. However, the noun stems exhibit an inner semantic coherence arranged in accordance with the basic linguistic principles of categorisation. My aim in this paper is to demonstrate the internal semantic coherence of the Ancient Greek οι-stem noun category and to compare it with other well-studied morphosemantic categories in order to suggest a particular meaning structure.

In: Journal of Greek Linguistics

Abstract

The concept of culture is a topic of shared interest for archaeologists and historical linguists alike. Despite its still prevalent usage in both disciplines, the concept of culture is an area of study that is highly problematic, and over the last three decades, increasingly contentious in the social sciences and humanities. There are two primary problems with culture and its application in (Proto-)Indo-European studies as I (and others) see it. First, there is the intellectual packaging and subsequent presentation of culture as a social totality. Participation in such totalities is defined and identified archaeologically by: the use of one or more peculiar items, including but not limited to decorative styles and vessel forms of pottery, the use of certain types of tools and/or weapons, and certain styles of burial rite. The first problem with such a conceptualization of culture is the perpetuation of limits or borders that reify culture as bounded, behavioral, and symbolic totalities that undergo change homogenously. The second problem is how social change is approached as denouement, or climax of cultural progress before rapid change. Such approaches fail to acknowledge and, more importantly, to investigate the juxtaposition of change and continuity experienced by different communities within these supposedly bounded entities. This paper addresses these problems and the subsequent issues that arise when trying to integrate the multiple methodologies employed by archaeologists, historical linguists, and geneticists to help develop more comprehensive understandings of human social action and processes in prehistory.

In: Dispersals and Diversification