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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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Title: A Grammar of Hindi
Written By: Annie Montaut
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 02
Description:

Hindi, the official language of India, is an Indo-Aryan language widely spoken in North India between Punjab, Bengal and Maharashtra, with more than 400 million speakers in the world. The grammar is aimed at giving a functional description of the language in a typological perspective, using diachronical explanation as well as areal contact, whenever it provides a better understanding of synchronic facts. Modern Standard Hindi is a verb final language very weakly flexional inherited from Sanskrit, a typically flexional language with relatively free word order.

The first section consists in a brief phonological outline, including a description of the writing system and stress.

The second section deals with morphology, typical of head final languages (postpositions, postponed auxiliaries) with strong agglutinative tendancy (specially in the verb phrase) although a few remnants of casual flexions and a two gender opposition are still preserved. Parts of speech are clearly distinct although verbo-nominal compounds raise a number of problems in this respect. The development and grammaticalization of postposition or postpositive locutions, verb series, causative and factitive alternations, aspectual, aktionsart and modal auxiliaries are analysed, as well as derivational morphology, both prefixing and suffixing (although mainly productive in technical neology). Reduplication and synonymous pairs also form an important device in developing the lexicon.

The analysis of the simple clause (third section) shows the high sensitivity of morpho-syntactic structures to semantic roles (specific case marking for the main argument of subjective predicates, of possessive predicates) and to aspect (ergative marking for agents of accomplished processes). The latter appears to form a paradigm with the other types of predications of localization, exhibiting clear analogies with the formation of Indo-European perfect in its early stages. Given the fact that such notions as subject and object fail to adequately account for a large number of elementary statements, the various types of clauses are better described within a frame of case-marking (taking into account semantic and discursive parameters) than of purely syntactical relations.

The complex sentence (section four) shows the prevalence of the typically Indo-aryan system of correlation on subordination in the restricted meaning, as well as of non finite verbal forms, a typically Dravidian device.

The last section is devoted to a presentation, within a historical and typological frame, of the most representative features of the various dialects of Hindi, showing the continuity between Standard Hindi with its Western dialects and the Eastern dialects closer to Magadhean languages such as Bengali.

Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Documentation
Typology
Subject Language(s): Hindi
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: INALCO/CNRS
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 332
Prices: Europe EURO 72