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Discussion Details

Title: Re: Dixon's model of punctuated equilibrium
Submitter: Jose-Luis Mendivil
Description: Marinus Van der Sluijs' remarks on Dixon's model are really
interesting, but I think he does not show that Dixon's model is flawed.
Ven der Sluijs identifies convergence with 'punctuation of equilibrium',
and this is a wrong way. 'Convergence' is just a (putative)
consequence of a period of equilibrium, as a result of intense
borrowing between languages in a (perhaps just ideal) equalitarian
situation (see Campbell 2004 for a recent critical review of this point
and others).

But Dixon's model does not identify every effect describable
as 'convergence' with a period of equilibrium. In fact, Van der Sluijs
uses the term 'convergence' in a different sense. In Dixon's
book 'convergence' refers to the effect of the spread of linguistic
features amongst languages in a linguistic area, not to the possible
assimilation of a substratum language. Dixon's model may have
problems (again see Campbell 2004), but I do not see anyone in
Marinus's message.

Campbell, Lyle (2004) ''Historical Linguistics. The State of the Art''. In
Piet van Sterkenburg (ed.): Linguistics Today - Facing a Greater
Challenge. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: 109-139.

Best regards:

Jose-Luis Mendivil
Universidad de Zaragoza
Date Posted: 03-Apr-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
LL Issue: 16.1018
Posted: 03-Apr-2005

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