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Description - Grammars in Contact by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Languages can be similar in many ways - they can resemble each other in categories, constructions and meanings, and in the actual forms used to express these. A shared feature may be based on common genetic origin, or result from geographic proximity and borrowing. Some aspects of grammar are spread more readily than others. The question is - which are they? When languages are in contact with each other, what changes do we expect to occur in their grammatical structures? Only an inductively based cross-linguistic examination can provide an answer. This is what this volume is about. The book starts with a typological introduction outlining principles of contact-induced change and factors which facilitate diffusion of linguistic traits. It is followed by twelve studies of contact-induced changes in languages from Amazonia, East and West Africa, Australia, East Timor, and the Sinitic domain. Set alongside these are studies of Pennsylvania German spoken by Mennonites in Canada in contact with English, Basque in contact with Romance languages in Spain and France, and language contact in the Balkans. All the studies are based on intensive fieldwork, and each cast in terms of the typological parameters set out in the introduction. The book includes a glossary to facilitate its use by graduates and advanced undergraduates in linguistics and in disciplines such as anthropology.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199556465
ISBN-10: 0199556466
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 157mm x 21mm)
Pages: 376
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 13-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Professor and Associate Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. She has worked on descriptive and historical aspects of Berber languages and published, in Russian, a grammar of Modern Hebrew (1990). She is a major authority on typological and areal features of South American languages, particularly of the Arawak family: Bare (1995, based on work with the last speaker, who has since died), Warekena (1998), and Tariana (2003). Her monographs include Classifiers: a Typology of Noun Categorization Devices (2000, 2003), Language Contact in Amazonia (2002), Evidentiality (2004), and The Manambu Language of East Sepik, Papua New Guinea (2008). R.M.W. Dixon is Professor and Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. He has published grammars of a number of Australian languages (including Dyirbal and Yidin), in addition to A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian (1988), The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia (2004) and A Semantic Approach to English Grammar (2005). His works on typological theory include Where have All the Adjectives Gone? and Other Essays (1982) and Ergativity (1994). His essay The Rise and Fall of Languages (1997) expounded a punctuated equilibrium model for language development which is the basis for his detailed case study Australian Languages: their Nature and Development (2002). He is currently working on an extensive study of the basic linguistic theory.

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