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Mon Aug 22 2011
Review: Historical Linguistics: Luraghi & Bubenik (eds., 2010)
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1. Malcolm Ross ,
The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
Message 1: The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
From: Malcolm Ross <Malcolm.Rossanu.edu.au>
Subject: The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
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EDITORS: Luraghi, Silvia and Bubenik, Vit
TITLE: The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
SERIES TITLE: Continuum Companions
Malcolm Ross, Department of Linguistics, School of Culture, History and
Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, and Department of
Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.
The body of the book is an editors' introduction and the twenty chapters
enumerated below, organized into six parts: methodology, phonological change,
morphological and grammatical change, syntactic change, semantico-pragmatic
change and explanations of language change. Following the last chapter are a 13-
page glossary of terms (as used and defined by the contributors), the references,
and indexes of subjects, authors and languages.
Preceding Part 1 are the Introduction and Ch 1. In their introduction Luraghi
and Bubenik justify the publication of yet another handbook on historical
linguistics on the grounds that the field of historical linguistics is ''so wide
and challenging that it can hardly be exhausted'' (p. xiii) and there are always
new perspectives and new approaches to be presented. The remainder of the
introduction summarizes the contributions to the book.
Ch 1., ''Historical linguistics: History, sources and resources,'' by the
editors, has four sections: a history of research in historical linguistics, a
discussion of the problems of using older written texts as sources, a survey of
writing systems, and a list of available text corpora.
Part 1, ''Methodology,'' contains Chs. 2-5.
In Ch. 2, ''Sound change and the comparative method: The science of historical
reconstruction,'' John Hewson first explains why the comparative method works --
because of the regularity of sound change -- then illustrates the method by briefly
summarising the history of Algonquian studies. This leads into an account first of
Bloomfield's Algonquian reconstruction, then of Hockett's and Haas' extensions to
Bloomfield's work, and finally of Hewson's own computer-aided reconstruction. The
chapter concludes with a more general explanation of how computer-aided
reconstruction can aid reconstructions based on low-order groups.
Brian Joseph's short contribution on ''Internal reconstruction'' (Ch. 3)
explains what this procedure is and how it is integrated with the comparative
method. The examples are drawn from Indo-European (IE) languages, with a final
example of internal reconstruction applied to reconstructed Proto-IE.
Hans Henrich Hock's Ch. 4 on ''Typology and universals'' reaches the interesting
conclusion that typological change is largely caused by contact and that
typology otherwise has little effect on language change. Reconstructed languages
need to be typologically plausible, but this is not a strong constraint, as many
typological universals are tendencies, not absolutes. In this light, Hock
briefly reviews the glottalic theory of Proto-IE phonological reconstruction and
relative-clause-based arguments about the reconstruction of Proto-IE
morphosyntax, pointing out that both entailed the false assumption that a
certain universal was absolute. Hock also looks briefly at the typology of
change itself, concluding that there are very few diachronic universals that
have proven fruitful. Two which have are the Transparency Principle in
morphology and the principle underlying grammaticalization whereby a free
morpheme becomes bound, but rarely vice versa.
Ch. 5, by Søren Wichmann, is entitled ''Internal language classification'' and
deals with the subgrouping of languages within recognised families (for him a
'family' is a grouping with no known external relatives). Although Wichmann
describes and accepts subgroupings arrived at by the comparative method and
therefore based on shared innovations, the focus of the chapter is on
applications to languages of computational phylogenetic methods that have their
origins in biology. Wichmann makes a distinction between character-based and
distance-based classifications. A character-based classification is based on the
presence or absence of each of a set of 'characters', i.e. features such as
lexical items. A distance-based classification typically employs some measure
of lexical distance between languages. Wichmann also discusses the Automated
Similarity Judgment Program, in the development of which he has played a major role.
Part 2, ''Phonological change,'' has just two chapters. In Ch. 6, ''Segmental
phonological change,'' Joseph Salmons gives an overview of types of segmental
phonological change, paying considerable attention to their causes, as he
regards models of change based on ease of articulation as simplistic. He points
out that rigorous study of articulation indicates that the causes of segmental
change can be quite complex and that historical phonologists still have much to
learn. He also draws the reader's attention to the fact that segmental changes
are often related to the position of the segment in the syllable or in a higher
prosodic unit. In the process he introduces the reader to phonological change as
it is understood by generative phonologists and by practitioners of phonetically
based phonology like John Ohala and Juliette Blevins. Hock's short chapter (Ch.
7) on ''Suprasegmental and prosodic historical phonology'' examines tonogenesis,
tonal change, and pitch accent shift and their causes.
Part 3, ''Morphological and grammatical change,'' contains Chs. 8-10.
Andersen's Ch. 8, ''From morphologization to demorphologization,'' offers a
comprehensive framework for categorising morphological changes. After a
theoretical introduction come three sections, on morphologization, change in
inflectional morphology, and demorphologization respectively. Under
morphologization Andersen includes not only grammaticalization (of words to
clitics and clitics to affixes) but also the reanalysis of phonological features or
segments as morphemes. The second section deals mainly with the elaboration
and simplification of affixal paradigms. Demorphologization is a mixed bag: the
emancipation of bound morphemes as less bound, loss of morphological function
through reanalysis and loss of affixes.
Livio Gaeta (Ch. 9) provides a brief introduction to ''Analogical change,''
defining analogy as a four-part proportion and illustrating subtypes of
analogical change with plentiful IE examples. He goes on to discuss possible
'laws' of analogy, proposing that various forms of constructional iconicity
underlie analogical change. Narrowing the focus to morphological paradigms, he
claims that paradigms are regularized on the basis of extra-morphological
properties, e.g. German ''braucht,'' 'need.PRES.3SG,' has become ''brauch'' in
some forms of colloquial German by virtue of the verb's recruitment into the
modal category because other modals lack the -t 'PRES.3SG' suffix that is
otherwise common to verbs in German. Hence, Gaeta says, analogy is a force for
emergent systemic regularity. The discussion concludes with a discussion of the
relationship between 'analogy', operating locally, and 'rules,' operating across
In ''Change in grammatical categories'' (Ch. 10), the longest chapter in the book,
Vit Bubenik presents a reconstruction of the nominal and verbal morphology of
Proto-Semitic, based on a range of Semitic languages, ancient and modern. They
include Akkadian (NE Semitic), Aramaic, Ugaritic, Hebrew and Arabic (all NW) and
Ge'ez (S), along with references to external witnesses in other Afro-Asiatic groups
(Cushitic, Egyptian, Berber, Chadic). His reconstruction of nominal morphology
culminates in an excursion into the Proto-Afro-Asiatic alignment system and
concludes that the hypothesis that Proto-Afro-Asiatic was ergative may well be
correct. He ends his reconstruction of Semitic verbal morphology with the
observation that the latter can only be reconstructed effectively if one takes
account of the whole system of verbal morphology, as one category has
sometimes been remodelled on the basis of another and grammaticalization has
introduced new forms into the system.
Part 4, ''Syntactic change,'' contains Chs. 11-14.
Ch. 11 is entitled ''Word order'', but Jan Terje Faarlund writes about change in
the order of the constituents of the clause in Germanic languages, with some
discussion of constituent order change more generally. For example, Faarlund
observes that constituent order change is typically from freer to less free (as
the result of rule loss) and from SVO to SOV. Exceptions to the latter
generalization appear always to be due to contact-induced change.
In Ch. 12, ''The rise (and possible downfall) of configurationally,'' Silvia
Luraghi describes increasing configurationality in IE languages. As she points
out, the facts are well known but the processes of change are not. She begins
with the premise that there are two kinds of non-configurational languages:
head-marking and dependent-marking. In head-marking languages the relationship
between a noun phrase and a verb is indicated by verbal morphology (she
illustrates this from modern spoken French), whereas in dependent-marking
languages, verbs are essentially intransitive and have no (syntactic) argument
structure. Instead, the relationship between noun phrases and the verb is purely
semantic, there is no difference between arguments and adjuncts, and
case-marking encodes semantic, not syntactic, relationships. Because of
case-marking and the looseness of semantic relationships, dependent-marking
non-configurational languages (like early IE) also allow discontinuous noun
phrases (but head-marking languages do not). Luraghi's thesis is that in IE
languages the frequent collocation of semantically associated items has led to
their grammaticalization as syntactic constructions (and this led to loss of
case-marking, not vice versa). Grammaticalization turned adverbial particles
into adpositions, discontinuous noun phrases into continuous, and non-subject
noun phrases into syntactic arguments.
Ch. 13, on ''Subordination'' describes the development of subordinate clauses in
ancient IE languages. The first half of the chapter, by Dorothy Disterheft, is a
stage-by-stage presentation of the growth of non-finite subordination,
i.e.infinitive verb forms, from case-marked nominalizations, showing how these
forms acquired increasingly verbal features. The second half, by Carlotta Viti,
deals with finite subordination and shows how subordinate clauses have developed
from independent clauses used in paratactic constructions.
In Ch. 14, ''Alignment,'' Geoffrey Haig first defines varieties of alignment,
i.e. accusative, ergative, split-S and fluid-S, then describes in some detail
one case of alignment change, namely from accusative to ergative in West
Iranian, and discusses the mechanisms by which this change has occurred. The
chapter ends with a section on ''General principles of alignment change.'
Chapters 15-17, on ''Grammaticalization,'' ''Semantic change'', and ''Etymology,''
respectively, make up Part 5, entitled ''Semantico-Pragmatic change.''
Chapter 15 examines ''Grammaticalization'' from two perspectives. Under the
first, "Grammaticalization as reduction,'' Elizabeth Closs Traugott summarizes
the more conventional view of grammaticalization, whereby words become bound
morphemes and change is generally unidirectional. Under the second,
''Grammaticalization as expansion,'' she summarizes the view which emphasizes
the functional expansion of an item that has undergone grammaticalization: the
item occurs with a larger host class and in a wider range of syntactic contexts
with a wider range of uses. The chapter finishes with some "Current issues,"
namely the relevance of Construction Grammar to the analysis of grammaticalization,
motivations for the onset of grammaticalization, the relationship between
reanalysis and grammaticalization, and grammaticalization in contact situations.
In Ch. 16 Eugenio R. Luján provides an overview of ''Semantic change.'' He begins
with basic points: the arbitrariness of the sign, the relationship of meaning to
culture, differences in languages' organization of meaning, the difference between
core and peripheral meaning, and the distinction between semiasiological and
onomasiological studies of meaning change, i.e. study of changing word meanings
and study of the changes in the encoding of a semantic field. He then describes
mechanisms of semantic change, particularly metaphor and metonymy, changes
in meaning scope (broadening and narrowing) and in connotation (pejoration and
melioration), changes in the meaning of syntagms (e.g. French negation) and what
he terms 'paradigmatic changes' -- changes due to homonymy and synonymy.
From here Luján moves on to extra-linguistic causes of semantic change and
contact-induced change. The chapter ends with a discussion of generalizations
about semantic change that have emerged in the last three decades.
Thomas Krisch's short chapter (Ch. 17) on ''Etymology'' introduces the reader to its
subject by way of Socrates' three etymologies of 'Poseidon' and then explains
how modern approaches to etymology differ from Socrates.' A comparison of the
etymologies of Greek ''these'' and Latin ''deus,'' both 'god', shows that words
of the same meaning with similar forms are not necessarily cognate and
introduces the reader to the application of the comparative method in
etymologising. The last section defines etymology and gives brief etymologies
for several English words.
The sixth and last part of the volume is entitled ''Explanations of language
change'' and has three chapters.
The first of these is a chapter (Ch. 18) by Bridget Drinka on ''Language
contact.'' She begins with a short history of the study of language contact.
This is followed by sections on areal linguistics, pidgins and creoles, the
effects of contact and theoretical issues. The pidgins and creoles section looks
at the development of key concepts in the field, emphasising that the issues are
not as simple as is sometimes assumed. The section on the effects of contact
deals with calquing, metatypy and grammaticalization, and the theoretical issues
section looks at the role of speakers in contact-induced change and at
typological change resulting from contact.
J.K. Chambers' Ch. 19 on ''Regional and social dialectology'' explains the
differences between these two branches of dialectology. Regional dialectology has
since the mid-19th century collected data from non-mobile, older rural males with
the intention of recording the oldest forms still known by speakers and their exact
geographic distribution. Social dialectology is modelled on sociology and has its
origins in Labov's work in the 1960s, focussed on the linguistic manifestations of
the variables of age, sex, class and other social attributes in a specific
community. Both have the intention of studying language change: regional
dialectology by collecting data from the oldest and presumably most conservative
speakers, social dialectology -- alias variationist sociolinguistics -- by
identifying variation within the community, and particularly differences across
age groups.The latter is based on the apparent-time hypothesis, whereby certain
kinds of change are unlikely to occur in adulthood and age-based differences are
assumed to reflect ongoing change. Chambers endorses the hypothesis but points
out that there are also other possible explanations for age-based differences.
The final chapter (Ch. 20) is Silvia Luraghi's ''Causes of language change,''
which brings together strands from various chapters in the book. A major theme
of this chapter is that there are significant difficulties with the idea that
language change is due to imperfect transmission during infant acquisition. At
the same time, however, Luraghi sees problems with theories of adult language
change. She is also critical of teleological explanations of change. She
suggests that no line should be drawn between contact-induced change and other
changes, since ''mutual accommodation of speakers and hearers is the ultimate
cause of change"
Although the term ''companion'' in the title of the book is determined by the
fact that it belongs to a succession of ''Continuum Companions'' to various
subdisciplines in the humanities, including linguistics (most of the latter
still forthcoming), it is worth asking oneself what one expects of a
''companion.'' My answer is that a companion is a book that provides an overview
of a subdiscipline: it is not an introductory textbook, but is aimed at
practitioners of the discipline who would like to know what is currently
happening in the various areas of (in this instance) historical linguistics.
Curiously, the authors don't tackle the issue of audience in their introduction,
and this, if anything, undersells their book.
As a practising historical linguist I found much of the book fascinating
reading, as it took me into methods and geographic regions of historical
linguistics which I am less familiar with, and many of the chapters provided me
with a pithy but informative overview of their respective fields. If this is
what a companion is supposed to do, then this is indeed a companion to
I have few complaints, and they are small. One is that certain chapters either
do not provide an overview of the field referred to in their title (Chs. 10 and
13) or are written as if historical linguistics were the study of IE alone (Chs.
11-13). I make no complaint about the use of IE examples per se: this is
inevitable, given the history of the field. The editors remark that they have
tried to avoid an IE bias. Chs. 2 and 10, using Algonquian and Afro-Asiatic
data, respectively, do so spectacularly, and Chs. 6, 7 and 14 also draw on
various non-IE examples. Otherwise, IE dominates -- but this is a reflection of
There is one notable omission, however. Austronesian is one of the world's
largest language families, and there is now a substantial literature on its
history, starting with Otto Dempwolff's researches in the 1920s and 1930s. Its
inclusion in the book would also have provided a methodological contrast with IE
studies, as Austronesian historical linguistics depends largely on
reconstruction from modern field data. The omission of Austronesian stands out
for me because it is one of my research fields. It may be that scholars working
on other language families will notice what for them are also important omissions.
A couple of the titles of the six parts of the book have titles which sit a little
uncomfortably with their component chapters. ''Morphological and grammatical
change'' (Chs 8-10) left me asking what is ''grammatical'' as opposed to
morphological and syntactic change. I assume ''grammatical'' is intended to
acccommodate Bubenik's ''Change in grammatical categories'' and perhaps those
bits of Gaeta's ''Analogical change'' that are not morphological. ''Semantico-
pragmatic change'' (Chs. 15-17) sounds like a compound devised to cover a
somewhat disparate collection of chapters, but in fact the chapters are not really
disparate, as grammaticalization, semantic change, and etymology all have to do
with changes in the 'meaning' dimension of the Saussurean sign. Given the
numerous points in the volume where the subject matter of the chapters overlaps
(and it would be strange if they didn't), sometimes across the boundaries between
the parts, one wonders if the part divisions shouldn't have been omitted. And given
the points of overlap, it would have been helpful to the reader if the editors had
inserted cross-references within the chapters, but, other than in Luraghi's final
chapter, they didn't.
The book appears to have been well edited. I found just a few typos and second-
language glitches. Continuum is to be congratulated on attractive and readable
typsetting and layout.
The first section of Ch. 1 is probably the best potted (ten-page) historiography
of historical linguistics that I have read. It not only covers the ground from
Sir William Jones in 1786 to Harrison & Campbell (1995), but does so as a
coherent narrative that makes for easy and interesting reading. The second
section, on the use of older texts as sources, also seems to be a good survey of
the issues, but drew my attention (as one who works on language families with
little or no textual attestation) to one thing that is missing here, namely the
methodological issues involved in working on language families that have no
textual attestation to speak of--and these form a majority of the world's
families. A curious phrase caught my attention in this section. The writers
mention (p. 18) a large literature ''on Hebrew interference in the Old
Testament.'' Since most of the Old Testament was written
in Hebrew, I don't know what is intended here. The third section, on writing
systems, is an excellent survey, but seems overly detailed for a basic overview.
The fourth section, a list of corpora, is an excellent inclusion. The editors
clearly want to position historical linguistics firmly in the electronic age,
and this is one way of doing so.
Hewson's Ch. 2, on sound change and the comparative method, is eminently
readable -- and it is refreshing to read about the application of the comparative
method to a non-IE language group, together with a historiographic perspective on
that reconstruction. Hewson's suggestions about how readers might apply
computational comparative techniques to the languages they are working on are
both comprehensible and practical (and another support for the editors' vision of
historical linguistics in the electronic age).
Joseph's and Hock's short chapters (3 and 4) on internal reconstruction and
typology, respectively, provide crystal clear explanations of their topics.
Joseph allows the reader to see vividly how internal reconstruction is related
to the comparative method. Hock's statement that typology has little effect on
change will probably surprise some readers, as one still sometimes comes across
teleological arguments in historical linguistics, but he argues his case lucidly
(and I think correctly).
Ch 5., on classification, displays Wichmann's passion for introducing scientific
rigour into historical linguistics. As a practitioner of the comparative method
I have mixed responses to this. Wichmann's account of character-based
classifications and of why family trees are imprecise and sometimes deceptive
representations of language relationships is a model of clarity, and I think
many readers will find it illuminating. However, shared innovations are the
backbone of subgroups based on the comparative method, and there is no mention
of the fact that many of the methods he mentions do not distinguish innovation
from retention. Shared retentions tell us little except that the languages
concerned are in some respect(s) conservative. One computational method which
does (if I understand it correctly) make this distinction is Bayesian inference,
but this is unfortunately a somewhat opaque patch (using terms that will be
unfamiliar to many readers) in an otherwise very clear chapter.
Joseph Salmons (Ch. 6) provides a balanced, well articulated and coherent
overview of historical phonology within the space of a few pages, with examples
ranging from the well known to the exotic. I particularly appreciated his rewording
of Blevins' theory of evolutionary phonology and his account of the life cycle of
sound change. A virtue of this chapter is that it also points to what we DON'T
Andersen's Ch. 8 on morphologization and demorphologization is a survey by an
acknowledged expert. However, in his desire to avoid the presuppositions of
specific linguistic theories Andersen adopts a Peircean framework which is rather
too complex to serve its introductory purpose and may, I feel, discourage some
readers from reaching the excellent meat of the chapter.
Short though Gaeta's Ch. 9 on analogical change is, I found it particularly
interesting, perhaps because I mostly work on languages in which analogy plays a
lesser role than in IE. I had not previously absorbed the fact that folk
etymology is founded on analogy, and I find particularly thought-provoking
Bauer's suggestion, cited by Gaeta in his conclusion, to the effect that the
behaviours that linguists describe in terms of rules may in fact refect the
ongoing application of analogy.
If one is reading through the book's chapters in sequence, then Bubenik's Ch. 10
on change in grammatical categories comes as an odd man out. Whereas other
chapters have provided a topic overview, this chapter is a topic exemplification
-- at least, that is what the editors write in the Introduction. The chapter
jumps straight into Afro-Asiatic morphology, and the reader must figure out
alone that this is an exemplification and what it exemplifies. I have no
expertise in Afro-Asiatic historical linguistics, but I think the chapter will
perhaps be more useful (and perhaps VERY useful) to readers interested in
Afro-Asiatic historical morphology than to a reader seeking guidance on the
reorganization of grammatical categories over time.
Faarlund's Ch. 11 gives an excellent overview of constituent order change in
Germanic languages, and, as noted above, he makes a number of pertinent
generalizations about constituent order change in general. However, some of the
issues he touches on deserve further consideration. One is the relationship
between constituent order and information structure. Another is the role of contact
in constituent order change, which gets just a single sentence (p. 206). In a
comment that is relevant to the next chapter, Faarlund remarks that Proto-IE was
an OV language but 'that does not necessarily imply that it had fixed word
order': I am not sure what this means. I assume that this chapter is entitled
''Word order'' in keeping with typological convention, but I would have
preferred ''Constituent order.'
Ch. 12, on the rise of configurationality in IE languages, is intriguing. I have
a great deal of sympathy with Luraghi's usage-based approach, and wish that it
was more widely represented in the book, and her illustration of the possible
downfall of configurationality in modern French makes fascinating reading.
However, I am yet to be convinced that early IE languages were
non-configurational in the sense that she describes. If, as she suggests,
non-subject noun phrases were related only semantically to verbs and
case-marking was essentially semantic, then we would not expect the accusative
case to encode the wide range of semantic roles that it did in Latin and Ancient
Greek, whereby the specific role is determined by verbal meaning. I am not aware
of languages that are typologically similar to Luraghi's Proto-IE, but perhaps
that reflects my ignorance. What I am aware of are (frequent) cases where it is
difficult to determine whether an adjunct-like phrase is an adjunct or an
argument of the verb, but it seems to me that such cases reflect the ongoing
emergence of transitivity rather than a shift from non-configurational to
Ch. 13, on subordination, is a clear presentation of the development of
infinitives and subordinate clauses in ancient (and sometimes modern) IE
languages. Curiously, however, it seems to presuppose that ''historical
linguistics'' means ''IE historical linguistics:'' there is no reference to
anything outside IE, and a more appropriate chapter title would have been
''Subordination in Indo-European languages.'' I find this a little surprising,
as the development of subordination has certainly been an important topic in
typology, with implications for the origins of subordination in general.
Haig's Ch. 14, on alignment change, is a model of what a chapter in a companion
should be: first an overview with definitions, then a well worked example, and
finally some concluding generalizations. It is clearly written with pointers for
the reader as to where to go for more information, and the discussion of how
alignment change has come about in West Iranian presents alternative hypotheses
before coming down in favour of one of them. The conclusion summarizes the
current state of study.
Given the huge amount that has been written about grammaticalization in recent
decades, Traugott's Ch. 15 is remarkable for its fresh perspectives. Traugott
assumes, I think (and rightly so), that her readers will know broadly what
grammaticalization is, and plunges into two contrasting approaches to it, the
'reduction' approach, which emphasizes phonological reduction, increased
bondedness and unidirectionality of change, and the 'expansion' approach which
focusses on the functional extension of an item under grammaticalization. Her
examination of the relationship between grammaticalization and Construction
Grammar is apparently the only mention in the volume of the latter's relevance to
historical morphosyntax. Inevitably, other chapters in the volume overlap with this
one: Andersen's on morphological change and Gaeta's on analogy. If I have a
criticism, it is that examples are rather sparse.
Luján's chapter (16) on semantic change provides a lucid overview of the field,
illustrated with plentiful examples from west European languages. This is again
something of a model chapter, in that the reader is introduced to the field, taken
through the major categories and causes of semantic change, ending with a
summary of the theoretical state of the art. Curiously, and perhaps deliberately,
grammaticalization is discussed briefly under the rubric ''syntagmatic changes''
without any mention of the term ''grammatic(al)ization.'' This could confuse a
beginner, but then the book is evidently not intended for beginners. It is
probably a reflection of the state of the art that contact-induced semantic
change does not receive the degree of attention that it warrants.
The introductory paragraph of Krisch's brief contribution (Ch. 17) on etymology
indicates that the author was unsure how to perform his task -- whether to give
a theoretical survey or to exemplify. He chooses an approach closer to the
latter, but his understanding of the task was apparently different from other
contributors', as the chapter seems to be addressed to the non-linguist
beginner: it would fit better into a textbook than into the present companion.
It deals at a very basic level with the question of what etymology is rather
than providing an overview of current theory and practice.
Drinka's chapter (18) on language contact is a masterpiece. In just under 20 pages
she succeeds in providing a balanced overview of what is now a complex subfield
of linguistics, and the reader who reads all her references would be well informed
indeed. Her historiography begins with Schmidt's Wave Theory and ends with
Matras on European Romani. The section on areal linguistics is a short catalogue
of the literature on language areas (the effects of areal contact come later).
The section on pidgins and creoles summarizes much of the recent literature and
gently contradicts conventional understanding by pointing to some of the
complexities that occur in creoles.
An oddity here is that Drinka's definitions of the terms ''pidgin'' and
''creole'' appear to be different from older, more conventional definitions, but
she doesn't make this explicit. The two subsections under ''The effects of
contact'' on calquing and metatypy and on replicated grammaticalization
respectively treat these as separate phenomena. I am not sure that they are as
separate as Drinka suggests, since replicated grammaticalization in at least
some cases clearly forms part of metatypy. Nor do I think that replicated
grammaticalization is as conscious as, following Heine and Kuteva, she
suggests.This issue overlaps with the role of the speaker in contact-induced
change, the topic of one of Drinka's subsections on theoretical issues, and one
about which I think scholars will have much more to say as empirical studies of
language contact in progress appear. But this lies beyond the scope of a review.
I enjoyed Chambers' introduction to dialectology (Ch. 19) because it provides an
overview of both regional and social dialectology (it seems rare to find them
accommodated together), delineates clearly the differences in their histories,
methods and goals, and dares to hope that they will before too long be integrated
as dialect geography increasingly adopts sociolonguistic methods. The one area
that is perhaps underemphasized is recent studies that seek to test the apparent-
time hypothesis and which in some instances show that what looks like change
over time in fact (also) has other causes.
I agree with almost everything that Luraghi writes about the causes of language
change (Ch. 20), except perhaps for her conclusion that there is no essential
difference between contact-induced change and ''internally caused'' change. She
is obviously right that the mechanisms whereby an innovation is transmitted
through a community are the same in both cases -- by contact between idiolects
-- but the innovation of a change through contact entails bilingualism, and this
is not true of all innovations. As Chambers (pp. 352-354) mentions in Ch. 19,
different kinds of change affect different age groups, and it is reasonably
clear from the
variationist sociolinguistic literature that, for example, fundamental syntactic
changes do not occur in adulthood but may occur during the preadolescent and
adolescent transition from simple imitation of caregivers to assertion of the
peer group's linguistic independence. Herein, perhaps, lies part of the
resolution to the difficulties which Luraghi rightly identifies in theories of
both infant and adult language change.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Malcolm Ross is an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the Australian
National University. He is a historical linguist, whose interests include
Austronesian languages (especially of the New Guinea region and of
Taiwan), Papuan languages (especially those of the Trans New Guinea
family and of Island Melanesia) and contact-induced change in the
smallscale neolithic communities of Melanesia.
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