LINGUIST List 15.2485

Wed Sep 8 2004

Books: Historical Linguistics: Evans (Ed)

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  1. jmanley, The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Evans (Ed)

Message 1: The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Evans (Ed)

Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 08:54:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: jmanley <>
Subject: The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Evans (Ed)

Title: The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia
Subtitle: Comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically
	 complex region
Series Title: Pacific Linguistics

Publication Year: 2004
Publisher:	Pacific Linguistics

Editor: Nicholas Evans

Paperback: ISBN: 085883538X, Pages: x + 513 pp, Price: AUS $ 90.00
	 Comment: In Australia A$99.00 (inc. GST)


The present volume brings together detailed comparative work on a
number of non-Pama-Nyungan languages of Northern Australia, and is the
first book-length study to span this linguistically complex region,
containing as it does perhaps 90% of Australia�s linguo-genetic
diversity in an eighth of its land area. Many papers originated at a
workshop held at the 1989 Australian Linguistics Society conference at
Monash University, but several have been written specially for this
volume. It has been said that no language changes faster than a
proto-language, and in the intervening period a great deal of new
descriptive data on non-Pama-Nyungan languages has accumulated, as
well as careful sifting of complex data, which has led many of the
authors to completely revise or develop their arguments since the
original workshop. Hence, the delay in the appearance of the volume
reflects some major shifts in position on the part of some authors.

The introduction the main issues in comparative non-Pama-Nyungan
studies, and forms a state-of-the-art survey of the classification of
non-Pama-Nyungan languages, which have undergone substantial changes
over recent decades. It also consider the main issues in their
subgrouping, and their relation to the Pama-Nyungan languages. The
second to fourth sections then looks at issues of subgrouping,
reconstruction and areal influence that pertain to particular
non-Pama-Nyungan families or subregions. The final sections returns to
the issue of whether one can carry the process of reconstruction back
to deeper levels than the families themselves, that is back to some
level from which all or most non-Pama-Nyungan families are
descended. Overall, the volume illustrates that - despite recent
claims by some authors - the comparative method can be successfully
applied to Australian languages. It also furnishes a number of
detailed and intricate studies of morphological reconstruction applied
to complex paradigms.

Lingfield(s):	Historical Linguistics
Written In:	English (Language Code: ENG)

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