LINGUIST List 12.2829

Mon Nov 12 2001

Books: Ethnolinguistics

Editor for this issue: Richard John Harvey <>

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  1. 890003149593, Ethnolinguistics:The Languages of the "First Nations", Liedtke.

Message 1: Ethnolinguistics:The Languages of the "First Nations", Liedtke.

Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 21:47:48 +0100
From: 890003149593 <>
Subject: Ethnolinguistics:The Languages of the "First Nations", Liedtke.

The Languages of the "First Nations"

A Comparison of Native American Languages from an Ethnolinguistic Perspective


As yet there is no satisfactory solution for the attempt to study the
immense diversity of the languages of the world systematically and to
divide them into related groups. On the contrary, there is an
embittered, fruitless controversy between, on the one hand, scholars
who - unfortunately often with absolutely inadequate methodology -
gather the languages into ever increasing "super groups", and on the
other hand, scholars who are bogged down in the - justified -
criticism towards this approach and have developed an anxious negative
attitude especially towards genetic comparative linguistics (the
"splitters"). What is now lacking is 1) fresh stock-taking of the
meanwhile available descriptive facts, 2) a strict improvement of
comparative methods, and 3) an unbiased attitude. The book aims in
this direction. With the example of the languages of the "First
Nations", i.e., the Indian peoples of the American twin continent, it
attempts a critical stock-taking of the method of language comparison
(genetic, areal and typological). The author lays great emphasis on
the points of content between ethnologists and linguists, in order to
encourage a cooperation of these disciplines. The book is thus
suitable as introductory reading for people interested in these two
related disciplines. Comparable works would be desirable for scholars
who specialise in other areas (Africanists etc.). These topics have
never before been treated in this summary form in the English-speaking

ISBN 3 929075 25 3. 
LINCOM Handbooks in Linguistics 01. 
148 pp. USD 43 / EUR 39.30 / � 26. (3rd printing)

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Monday, July 23, 2001