276the_crisis_for_language_diversity

276the_crisis_for_language_diversity - The Crisis of...

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The Crisis of Language Diversity
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“Why” Linguistic Diversity? Nettle’s Account Imperfect learning Isolation (Social, Geographical) Assignment of Meaning to Random Variation ( Nettle, Daniel. 1999. Linguistic Diversity . Cambridge University Press )
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Linguistic Diversity TYPES OF DIVERSITY: 1) LANGUAGE DIVERSITY INDIVIDUAL LANGUAGES: 6,912 (Ethnologue) e.g. English, Chechen, Hopi, Arrernte 2) LINEAGE/(PHYLO)GENETIC DIVERSITY : LANGUAGE FAMILIES “All the languages descended from a common ancestral language”: 101 (Ethnologue) ~12 (Ruhlen/Greenberg)) e.g. Indo-European, Tibeto-Burman, Nilo-Saharan, Athabaskan LANGUAGE STOCKS “The deepest genetic unit that is both demonstrable and reconstructable (includes isolates)” (320(Nichols and Bickel)) LANGUAGE ISOLATES: 30 (Ethnologue) Languages with NO known phylogenetic relatives e.g. Zuni, Tarascan, Ainu
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Low Lineage Diversity: Africa
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High Lineage Diversity: California
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Linguistic Diversity 3) TYPOLOGICAL/STRUCTURAL DIVERSITY : Diversity of realizations of sites for typological variability; has no “genetic” significance e.g. Word Order: S “Subject” V “Verb” O “Object SVO, SOV,VOS, VSO,OVS, OSV VSO : x-il naj ix past-saw he her V S O “He saw her” (Jacaltec Maya, Guatemala) SOV : ne’=ne ne-cha yma pi=’a mi-qa S O V I=I.ergative I.possr-basket it=throw.away-pres.sg. “I’m throwing away my basket” (Cupeño, California)
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Linguistic Diversity TYPES OF DIVERSITY DEFINED IN GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS (as properties of sub- continental regions) : SPREAD ZONES ACCRETION/RESIDUAL ZONES CONCENTRATION OF ENDEMISM* IN TROPICS, ISLANDS *Endemism: A language, species, etc. native to (“endemic to”) the region and found only there
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SPREAD ZONES AND ACCRETION ZONES FEATURES OF SPREAD ZONES (NICHOLS, Johanna. 1992. Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time. University of Chicago Press (pp. 16-17)) (Underlined features are “definitive”) Low genetic diversity (half the diversity of the entire continent) Low structural diversity Recent origin of language families Rapid expansion, language successions Innovations at the center, archaisms at the periphery Level of diversity is stable in spite of successions Presence of lingue franche An example of a spread zone: The Great Basin (see map at http://www4.hmc.edu:8001/humanities/basin/tribes.gif
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A Spread Zone: The Great Basin and the “Numic Fan”
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276the_crisis_for_language_diversity - The Crisis of...

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