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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Book Information


Title: On Comitatives and Related Categories
Subtitle: A Typological Study with Special Focus on the Languages of Europe
Written By: Thomas Stolz
Cornelia Stroh
Aina S. Urdze
URL: http://www.degruyter.com/rs/bookSingle.cfm?id=IS-9783110185874-1&l=E
Series Title: Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 33

ISBN 3-11-018587-3
ISBN-13 978-3-11-018587-4

This is the first book-length functional-typologically inspired
crosslinguistic study of comitatives and related categories such as the
instrumental. On the basis of data drawn from 400 languages world-wide
(covering all major phyla and areas), the authors test and revise a variety
of general linguistic hypotheses about the grammar and cognitive
foundations of comitatives. Three types of languages are identified
according to the morphological treatment of the comitative and its
syncretistic association with other concepts. It is shown that the
structural behaviour of comitatives is areally biassed and that the
languages of Europe tend to diverge from the majority of the world's
languages. This has important repercussions for a language-independent
definition of the comitative. The supposed conceptual closeness of
comitative and instrumental is discussed in some detail and a semantic map
of the comitative is put forward. Markedness is the crucial concept for the
evaluation of the relation that ties comitatives and instrumentals to each
other. In a separate chapter, the diachrony of comitatives is looked into
from the perspective of grammaticalisation research.

Throughout the book, the argumentation is richly documented by empirical
data. The book contains three case-studies of the comitative in Icelandic,
Latvian and Maltese - each of which represents one of the three language
types identified earlier in the text. For the purpose of comparing the
languages of Europe, a chapter is devoted to the analysis of a large
parallel literary corpus (covering 64 languages) which reveals that the
parameters of genetic affiliation, areal location and typological
classification interact in intricate ways when it comes to predicting
whether or not two languages of the sample behave similarly as to the use
to which they put their comitative morphemes. With a view to determining
the degree of similarity between the languages of the European sub-sample,
methods of quantitative typology are employed. General linguists with an
interest in case, functional typologists, grammaticalisation researchers
and experts of markedness issues will value this book as an important
contribution to their respective fields of interest.

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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): Linguistic Theories
Subject Language(s): Icelandic
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110185873
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 551
Prices: Europe EURO 118.00
U.S. $ 159.30