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Systematic typological comparison as a tool for investigating language history

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Title: Systematic typological comparison as a tool for investigating language history
Authors: Reesink, Ger
Dunn, Michael
Issue Date: 20 Dec 2012
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Reesink, Ger and Michael Dunn. 2012. Systematic typological comparison as a tool for investigating language history Nicholas Evans and Marian Klamer (eds). 2012. Melanesian Languages on the Edge of Asia: Challenges for the 21st Century, 34–71. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication
Abstract: Similarities between languages can be due to 1) homoplasies because of a limited design space, 2) common ancestry, and 3) contact-induced convergence. Typological or structural features cannot prove genealogy, but they can provide historical signals that are due to common ancestry or contact (or both). Following a brief summary of results obtained from the comparison of 160 structural features from 121 languages (Reesink, Singer & Dunn 2009), we discuss some issues related to the relative dependencies of such features: logical entailment, chance resemblance, typological dependency, phylogeny and contact. This discussion focusses on the clustering of languages found in a small sample of 11 Austronesian and 8 Papuan languages of eastern Indonesia, an area known for its high degree of admixture.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/4560
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-2-4
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:LD&C Special Publication No. 5: Melanesian languages on the edge of Asia: Challenges for the 21st Century



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