[X] Anthropological Linguistics

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Vol. 51, no. 2 (Summer 2009)


Contents

From Ojibwa to Dakota: Toward a Typology of Semantic Transformations in American Indian Languages Emmanuel Désveaux and Michel de Fornel 95

Language Diversity and Language Choice: A View from a Cameroon Market Bruce Connell 130

Stability in Subject-Verb Word Order: From Contemporary Arabian Peninsular Arabic to Biblical Aramaic Jonathan Owens and Robin Dodsworth 151

Book Reviews

A Grammar of Hup (Patience Epps) Frank Seifart 176
When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World's Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge (K. David Harrison) Lenore A. Grenoble 179
Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity among the Indians of Northwestern California (Sean O'Neill) Thomas Buckley 182
A Linguistic Geography of Africa (Bernd Heine and Derek Nurse, editors) David Appleyard 185
Jazyk a identita etnických menšin: možnosti zachovánía revitalizace [Language and Identity of Ethnic Minorities: The Possibilities for Maintenance and Revitalization] (Leoš Šatava) Zdenek Salzmann 187
Český jazykový atlas [Atlas of the Czech Language] 5 vols. (Jan Balhar and Pavel Jančák, editors) Zdenek Salzmann 188

Abstracts

From Ojibwa to Dakota: Toward a Typology of Semantic Transformations in American Indian Languages

Emmanuel Désveaux
École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Michel de Fornel
École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Abstract. In this article we propose a radical new typological approach to the diversity of North American languages that is directly inspired by Claude Lévi-Straus's Mythologiques and his concept of transformation. As with mythology, the semantic dimension of phenomena is crucial. A comparison between the grammars of an Algonquian and a Siouan language will serve as a first illustration of the logical transformations linking two language families that previously have been considered to be fundamentally distinct. A parallel appears between the results obtained and those stemming from a comparison between the principal ritual manifestations of Sioux culture and Subarctic Algonquian culture.

Language Diversity and Language Choice: A View from a Cameroon Market

Bruce Connell
York University

Abstract. The immediate goal of the research reported here is to explore constraints on choice of language in the market of a small, highly multilingual village in Cameroon. In so doing, insight is provided both on the language ecology of the region in which the village is situated and on conditions of multilingualism in rural Africa, where the large majority of such research has been urban-based. Two investigative methods are used. The first documents the language encounters of an individual visit to market; the second involves analyzing language choice in a large number of transactions over the course of a single market day. Fourteen different languages were recorded with two, the primary language of the village and the regional lingua franca, vying for predominance.

Stability in Subject-Verb Word Order: From Contemporary Arabian Peninsular Arabic to Biblical Aramaic

Jonathan Owens
University of Bayreuth

Robin Dodsworth
North Carolina State University

Abstract. This article differs from traditional treatments of subject-verb word order in Semitic in two respects. First, we take as our point of departure a detailed study of word order in contemporary Arabian Peninsular Arabic, which shows that the respective order of the subject and verb in that variety is determined by morpholexical and by discourse-immanent factors. From this starting point, we work backwards, applying the same analytical framework to subject-verb word order in Biblical Aramaic. Secondly, we use corpus-based quantitative methods and regression analysis to determine the degree of similarity between Arabian Peninsular Arabic and Biblical Aramaic. It emerges that, for all intents and purposes, subject-verb word order in Arabian Peninsular Arabic and Biblical Aramaic are governed by an identical set of morpholexical and discourse constraints. Historical explanations for these results are discussed; it is emphasized that, whether the patterns are due to common inheritance or to diffusion, a complex pattern of word order determination is sustained over at least 2,500 years of chronological time.


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