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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: Rethinking Universals
Subtitle: How Rarities affect Linguistic Theory
Edited By: Jan Wohlgemuth
Michael Cysouw
Series Title: Empirical Approaches to Language Typology [EALT] 45

Universals of language have been studied extensively for the last four
decades, allowing fundamental insight into the principles and general
properties of human language. Only incidentally have researchers looked at
the other end of the scale. And even when they did, they mostly just noted
peculiar facts as "quirks" or "unusual behavior", without making too much
of an effort at explaining them beyond calling them "exceptions" to various
rules or generalizations.

Rarissima and rara, features and properties found only in one or very few
languages, tell us as much about the capacities and limits of human
language(s) as do universals. Explaining the existence of such rare
phenomena on the one hand, and the fact of their rareness or uniqueness on
the other, is a reasonable and interesting challenge to any theory of how
human language works.

The present volume for the first time compiles selected papers on the study
of rare linguistic features from various fields of linguistics and from a
wide range of languages.

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Language Typology
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9783110220933
Pages: 288
Prices: Europe EURO 99.95
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9783110220926
Pages: 288
Prices: Europe EURO 99.95