Advertisement

Keeping Contact in the Family: Approaches to Language Classification and Contact-induced Change

Chapter

Abstract

One of the cornerstones of nineteenth-century historical-comparative linguistics is the regularity hypothesis (see Morpurgo Davies, 1998). This idea that regular correspondences, of the kind observed by Grimm, Bopp and their contemporaries, reflect regular, exceptionless sound changes, underlies much of the progress made by the Neogrammarians and in the subsequent development of historical linguistics. Furthermore, it is a very good example of a kind of thinking that has been vital to linguistics more generally — that is, the notion that we can make progress by adopting strong methodological hypotheses. These may subsequently require modification; but adopting them in the first place can have unforeseen positive consequences in helping us to understand the way language works.

Keywords

Language Classification Philological Society Perfect Phylogeny Basic Vocabulary Regularity Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alpher, B. and D. Nash (1999) ‘Lexical Replacement and Cognate Equilibrium in Australia’, Australian Journal of Linguistics, vol. 19, pp. 5–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandelt, Hans-Jürgen, Peter Forster, Bryan Sykes and Martin Richards (1995) ‘Mitochondrial Portraits of Human Populations Using Median Networks’, Genetics, vol. 141, pp. 743–53.Google Scholar
  3. Bandelt, Hans-Jürgen, Peter Forster and A. Röhl (1999) ‘Median-Joining Networks for Inferring Intraspecific Phylogenies’, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 16, pp. 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baxter, William and Alexis Manaster-Ramer (2000) ‘Beyond Lumping and Splitting: Probabilistic Issues in Historical Linguistics’, in Colin Renfrew, April McMahon and Larry Trask (eds), Time Depth in Historical Linguistics (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research), pp. 167–88.Google Scholar
  5. Bowern, Claire and Harold Koch (eds) (2004) Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method (Amsterdam: John Benjamins).Google Scholar
  6. Bryant, D. and V. Moulton (2004) ‘Neighor-Net: An Agglomerative Method for the Construction of Phylogenetic Networks’, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 21, pp. 255–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dixon, R. M. W. (1980) The Languages of Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  8. Dixon, R. M. W. (2001) ‘The Australian Linguistic Area’, in A. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon (eds), Areal Diffusion and Genetic Linguistics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 64–103.Google Scholar
  9. Dyen, Isidore, Joseph B. Kruskal and Paul Black (1992) ‘An Indo-European Classification: A Lexicostatistical Experiment’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 82, Part 5. Data available at http://www.ldc.upenn.edu.Google Scholar
  10. Embleton, Sheila (1986) Statistics in Historical Linguistics (Bochum: Brockmeyer).Google Scholar
  11. Evans, Nicholas (ed.) (2004) The Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages of Northern Australia: Comparative Studies of the Continent’s Most Linguistically Complex Region (Canberra: Pacific Linguistics).Google Scholar
  12. Felsenstein, J. (2001) PHYLIP: Phylogeny Inference Package. Version 3. 6 (Seattle: Department of Genetics, University of Washington).Google Scholar
  13. Forster, Peter, Antonio Torroni, Colin Renfrew and A. Röhl (2001) ‘Phylogenetic Star Construction Applied to Asian and Papuan mtDNA Evolution’, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 18, pp. 1864–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Heggarty, Paul, April McMahon, Robert McMahon and Natalia Slaska (2003) ‘Lexicostatistics: The Flaws and the Fixes?’, Paper presented at the 16th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Copenhagen, 11–15 August 2003.Google Scholar
  15. Huson, D. (1998) ‘SplitsTree: A Program for Analyzing and Visualizing Evolutionary Data’, Bioinformatics, vol. 14, pp. 68–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kessler, Brett (2001) The Significance of Word Lists (Stanford, Calif.: CSLI Publications).Google Scholar
  17. Kessler, Brett (forthcoming) ‘Phonetic Comparison Algorithms’, Transactions of the Philological Society.Google Scholar
  18. Koerner, Konrad (ed.) (1983) Linguistics and Evolutionary Theory: Three essays by August Schleicher, Ernst Haeckel, and Wilhelm Bleek, with Introduction by J. Peter Maher (Amsterdam: John Benjamins).Google Scholar
  19. Lohr, Marisa (1999) Methods for the Genetic Classification of Languages. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  20. McMahon, April and Robert McMahon (2003) ‘Finding Families: Quantitative Methods in Language Classification’, Transactions of the Philological Society, vol. 101, pp. 7–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McMahon, April and Robert McMahon (2004) ‘Family Values’, in Christian Kay, Simon Horobin and Jeremy Smith (eds), New Perspectives on English Historical Linguistics, vol. 1: Syntax and Morphology (Amsterdam: Benjamins), pp. 103–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McMahon, April and Robert McMahon (forthcoming) Language Classification by Numbers (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  23. McMahon, April and Robert McMahon (in press) ‘Cladistics’, in Keith Brown (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edn (Oxford: Elsevier).Google Scholar
  24. McMahon, April, Paul Heggarty, Robert McMahon and Natalia Slaska (forthcoming), Robert McMahon and Natalia Slaska (forthcoming) ‘Swadesh Sublists and the Benefits of Borrowing: An Andean Case Study’, Transactions of the Philological Society, 2005.Google Scholar
  25. Morpurgo Davies, Anna (1998) Nineteenth Century Linguistics. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  26. Nash, David (2002) ‘Historical Linguistic Geography of South-East Western Australia’, in John Henderson and David Nash (eds) Language in Native Title (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press), pp. 205–30.Google Scholar
  27. Ringe, Don, Tandy Warnow and Ann Taylor (2002) ‘Indo-European and computational cladistics’, Transactions of the Philological Society, vol. 100, pp. 59–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schleicher, August (1863) Die Darwinische Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft. Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Dr. Ernst Haeckel, o. Professor der Zoologie und Direktor des zoologischen Museums an der Universität Jena (Weimar: Böhlau).Google Scholar
  29. Schmidt, Johannes (1872) Die Verwantschaftsverhältnisse der indogermanischen Sprachen (Weimar: Böhlau).Google Scholar
  30. Swadesh, Morris (1952) ‘Lexico-Statistical Dating of Prehistoric Ethnic Contacts’, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 96, pp. 452–63.Google Scholar
  31. Swadesh, Morris (1955) ‘Towards Greater Accuracy in Lexicostatistical Dating’, International Journal of American Linguistics, vol. 21, pp. 121–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thomason, Sarah Grey (2001) Language Contact: An Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang, Feng and William S.-Y. Wang (2004) ‘Basic Words and Language Evolution’, in Language and Linguistics, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 643–62.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© April McMahon and Robert McMahon 2006

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations