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LINGUIST List 16.3343

Mon Nov 21 2005

Books: Historical Linguistics/Linguistic Theories: Kiss

Editor for this issue: Megan Zdrojkowski <meganlinguistlist.org>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
        1.    Julia Ulrich, Universal Grammar in the Reconstruction of Ancient Languages: Kiss

Message 1: Universal Grammar in the Reconstruction of Ancient Languages: Kiss
Date: 17-Nov-2005
From: Julia Ulrich <julia.ulrichdegruyter.com>
Subject: Universal Grammar in the Reconstruction of Ancient Languages: Kiss

Title: Universal Grammar in the Reconstruction of Ancient Languages
Series Title: Studies in Generative Grammar 83
Published: 2005
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Book URL: http://www.degruyter.de/rs/bookSingle.cfm?id=IS-3110185504-1&l=E

Editor: Katalin É. Kiss, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Hardback: ISBN: 3110185508 Pages: vi, 526 Price: AUS $ 98.00
Hardback: ISBN: 3110185508 Pages: vi, 526 Price: U.S. $ 132.30 Comment: for USA, Canada, Mexico

Philologists aiming to reconstruct the grammar of ancient languages face
the problem that the available data always underdetermine grammar, and in
the case of gaps, possible mistakes, and idiosyncracies there are no native
speakers to consult. The authors of this volume overcome this difficulty by
adopting the methodology that a child uses in the course of language
acquisition: they interpret the data they have access to in terms of
Universal Grammar (more precisely, in terms of a hypothetical model of UG).
Their studies, discussing syntactic and morphosyntactic questions of Older
Egyptian, Coptic, Sumerian, Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew, Classical Greek,
Latin, and Classical Sanskrit, demonstrate that descriptive problems which
have proved unsolvable for the traditional, inductive approach can be
reduced to the interaction of regular operations and constraints of UG. The
proposed analyses also bear on linguistic theory. They provide crucial new
data and new generalizations concerning such basic questions of generative
syntax as discourse-motivated movement operations, the correlation of
movement and agreement, a shift from lexical case marking to structural
case marking, the licensing of structural case in infinitival
constructions, the structure of coordinate phrases, possessive
constructions with an external possessor, and the role of event structure
in syntax. In addition to confirming or refuting certain specific
hypotheses, they also provide empirical evidence of the perhaps most basic
tenet of generative theory, according to which UG is part of the genetic
endowment of the human species - i.e., human languages do not "develop"
parallel with the development of human civilization. Some of the languages
examined in this volume were spoken as much as 5000 years old, still their
grammars do not differ in any relevant respect from the grammars of
languages spoken today.

OF INTEREST TO: Research Libraries, Researchers and Advanced Students
interested in generative linguistic theory and generative syntax or in the
philology of ancient languages (Old Egyptian, Coptic, Sumerian, Akkadian,
Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit)

Katalin É. Kiss is Research Professor at the Research Institute for
Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.


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Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Coptic (cop)
                            Greek, Ancient (grc)
                            Hebrew, Ancient (hbo)
                            Latin (lat)
                            Sanskrit (san)
                            Akkadian (akk)
                            Egyptian (egy)
                            Sumerian (sux)

Written In: English (eng )

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International Pragmatics Assoc. http://ipra-www.uia.ac.be/ipra/
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