[X] Anthropological 
Linguistics

[ Index of Recent Volumes | Previous Issue | Next Issue | Order ]

Vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1991)


Contents

Articles

Nubi, Genetic Linguistics, and Language Classification Jonathan Owens 1
Testing the Translatability of Semantic Primitives into an Australian Aboriginal Language Cliff Goddard 31
Semantic Features and Gender Dynamics in Cantabrian Spanish Jonathan Carl Holmquist 57

Book Reviews

Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human Interaction (Anna Wierzbicka) Eric Pederson 81
Jokes and Their Relations (Elliott Oring) Karen W. Gallob 86
Les langues autochtones du Québec (Jacques Maurais, ed.) William Cowan 88
Itzá Maya Texts with a Grammatical Overview (Charles Andrew Hofling) John S. Robertson 90
The Handbook of Australian Languages (R. M. W. Dixon and Barry J. Blake, eds.) Geoff O'Grady 92
Yir-Yoront Lexicon: Sketch and Dictionary of an Australian Language (Barry Alpher) Jeffrey Heath 94
Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara to English Dictionary (Compiled by Cliff Goddard) Aram A. Yengoyan 96
Bedouin, Village, and Urban Arabic: An Ecolinguistic Study (Frederic J. Cadora) Alan S. Kaye 97
The Languages of Jerusalem (Bernard Spolsky and Robert Cooper) Loraine K. Obler 99
Vocabulary of Society and Culture: A Selected Guide to Russian Words, Idioms, and Expressions of the Post-Stalin Era (Irina H. Corten) Lenore Grenoble 101

Abstracts

Nubi, Genetic Linguistics, and Language Classification

Jonathan Owens
University of Bayreuth

Abstract. Creole languages pose a special problem to genetic linguistics. One viewpoint, represented inter alia by Bickerton and by Thomason and Kaufman (albeit in different ways), emphasizes the uniqueness of creoles. A second stresses the historical links of creoles either to substrate languages (Holm 1988) or the lexifier source (Hall 1958). In this paper I compare East African Nubi, an Arabic- based creole, to Sudanic Arabic, and to two potential substrate languages, Bari and Mamvu, and conclude that Sudanic Arabic is the most significant source. It is further suggested that one can speak of Nubi being genetically related to Arabic, and, by implication, that genetic relationship is generally one aspect of a creole's characterization.

Testing the Translatability of Semantic Primitives into an Australian Aboriginal Language

Cliff Goddard
The University of New England

Abstract. This study in the methodology of cross-linguistic semantics within the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) framework posits the existence of universal lexico-semantic primitives. Among these are because and want, yet both present translation difficulties in relation to the Western Desert Language of Central Australia. Because apparently has no unambiguous equivalent, and the Western Desert verb closest to want (mukuringanyi) exhibits a range of rather different syntactic and semantic characteristics and is morphologically complex. However, by taking careful account of polysemy and differences in range of use due to nonsemantic factors--factors that undermine any simplistic checklist approach to translatability unique, precise translation equivalents for both terms can be established.

Semantic Features and Gender Dynamics in Cantabrian Spanish

Jonathan Carl Holmquist
Temple University

Abstract. This study focuses on a lexical data set drawn from Cantabrian Spanish and consisting of paired nouns distinguished by contrasting masculine and feminine gender endings. Although linguistic gender in European languages is thought to be based primarily on convention, the study suggests that gender usage in the dialectal data is facultative (i.e., open to conscious awareness and meaningful manipulation). Furthermore, it is argued that gender assignment, described here in reference to a set of binary semantic features, is a marking process in which the feminine alternative is commonly unmarked. Finally, corroborative evidence for semantic features discussed is suggested to be present in folk poetry and humor also originating in the Cantabrian Mountain region of northern Spain.

Last updated: 20 Feb 1996
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~anthling/v33-1.html
Comments: anthling@indiana.edu
Copyright © 1996 Anthropological Linguistics.