[Lingtyp] Americanist contributions to typology

Plank frans.plank at uni-konstanz.de
Mon Jul 4 06:35:14 EDT 2016


The paper by Antoine that Enrique mentions is specifially on what is nowadays called "associated motion", something where Australia and South America have been leading the way.  The paper -- and it's probably the longest we've ever had -- is in LT 20(1) 2016, an issue that was regrettably held up by production hiccups, but is to finally hit your screens and/or mailboxes this month.  ToC attached.


In its early days (17-18th century) typology, and simultaneously language evolution, was a subject for "conjectural historians", and seriously Americas-informed factually-based typologising arguably only began with the likes of James Burnett (see below a passage from a handbook article for his actual language coverage) and Peter Stephen Du Ponceau.  I'd say grappling with polysynthesis/incorporation/Einverleibung was the first really significant typological contribution whose chief inspiration was American, superseding what had been speculated about the typological and evolutionary status of holistic event designations, aka impersonal/subjectless sentences.  Very early, certain sound/phoneme inventories, lacking labials that just about everybody else loved and acquired early, were also perceived as a typological challenge from the Americas, calling for corrections of facile generalisations. 

(Good) typology is so driven by (deep) knowledge about languages.  Good of Mark to recall Sapir.  

Frans





Frans Plank
Sprachwissenschaft
Universität Konstanz
78457 Konstanz
Germany

Tel  +49 (0)7531 88 2656
Fax +49 (0)7531 88 4190
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http://ling.uni-konstanz.de/pages/home/plank/






On 04 Jul 2016, at 10:44, Enrique L. Palancar <epalancar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi again,
> 
> May I also add that much of what we know about the syntax of ergativity also comes from the study of the syntax of the Mayan and Zoquean languages of Mexico and not only from Australia.
> 
> Antoine Guillaume has also an article coming up in LT showing how many varied spatial notions are encoded morphologically in many languages of South America. That I have seen as well in languages of Mesoamerica, not to mention meronyms, affective verbs, posture words, etc.  
> 
> And my penny for the morphology... because as far as morphological complexity goes in the sense of serious deviations from the ideal one form-one meaning mapping in the morphosyntax, the Oto-Manguean languages of Mexico are among the most complex systems we know of in the world by way of inflectional classes, stem classes, glottal classes, tonal classes, and you name it... 
> 
> Best,
> Enrique
> :::::::::::::::::::::::::::
> Enrique L. Palancar
> 
> SeDyL(UMR8202), CNRS
> 7 rue Guy Môquet, 94801 Villejuif-Paris, France
> <cnrs.academia.edu/EnriquePalancar>
> 
> > From: dbeck at ualberta.ca
> > Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2016 08:20:38 -0600
> > To: LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org
> > Subject: [Lingtyp] Americanist contributions to typology
> > 
> > Hi, everyone
> > 
> > At the International Journal of American Linguistics, we’re planning a 100th anniversary issue and part of it will have a survey of developments in linguistics and typology influenced by studies of American (in the Arctic-to-Tierra-del-Fueego sense) languages. So, I thought I would do a bit of a straw poll and ask the typological community what areas they thought had been most influenced by data from American languages (rather than relying on my own narrow point of view). Thoughts?
> > 
> > cheers,
> > 
> > David
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