Another Look at Australia as a Linguistic Area



Australia has been described as an ancient and complex linguistic area, with few recoverable genetic groups (see, for example, Dixon, 1997, 2001, 2002). Evidence cited in support of this areal model includes: the lack of bunching isoglosses for major features such as prefixation, bound pronouns, noun classes and phonological changes; the difficulty of classifying the various Pama-Nyungan daughter languages into discrete subgroups and subfamilies; the apparent time-depth of settlement of the continent; and long-standing, widespread multilingualism.


Family Tree John Benjamin Language Change Noun Class Punctuate Equilibrium 
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© Claire Bowern 2006

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