[Lingtyp] Americanist contributions to typology

Michael Cysouw cysouw at uni-marburg.de
Mon Jul 4 12:56:42 EDT 2016


Hi David,

another history of linguistic discovery that might be specifically interesting for IJAL is of course ergativity. In Europe something strange was known to happen with Basque, and Uhlenbeck (1916) drew parallels between Basque and American languages (this is C.C. Uhlenbeck, who worked on Blackfoot, cf. Uhlenbeck 1938).

However, the 1916 article by Uhlenbeck was rather confused (though he had a point), but the confusion was brilliantly solved by the young Edward Sapir in his review of Uhlenbeck’s work in the first issue of IJAL (Sapir 1917)! Sapir succinctly outlines a typology what we today would call neutral-nominative-ergative-splitS-tripartite (cf. Comrie 2013 in WALS).

As an aside: the review of Sapir in this first issue of IJAL is (rightly so) highly critical of the analysis of Uhlenbeck, although Uhlenbeck was one of the founding editors of IJAL!

best
michael

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Bernard Comrie. 2013. Alignment of Case Marking of Full Noun Phrases. In: Dryer, Matthew S. & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://wals.info/chapter/98, Accessed on 2016-07-04.)

Sapir, Edward. 1917. Review of “Het Passieve Karakter van het Verbum Transitivum of van het Verbum Actionis in Talen van Noord-Amerika". International Journal of American Linguistics 1(1). 82-86.

Uhlenbeck, C C. 1916. Het Passieve Karakter van het Verbum Transitivum of van het Verbum Actionis in Talen van Noord-Amerika. Verslagen en Meededelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afdeling Letterkunde 5(2). 187-216.

Uhlenbeck, C C. 1938. A Concise Blackfoot Grammar: based on material from the southern peigans. (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandsche Akademie van Wetenschappen, afdeling Letterkunde, Nieuwe Reeks XLI). Amsterdam: Koninklijke Akademie der Wetenschappen.


————————
Prof. Dr. Michael Cysouw
Forschungszentrum Deutscher Sprachatlas
Philipps Universität Marburg
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> On 02 Jul 2016, at 16:20, David Beck <dbeck at ualberta.ca> wrote:
> 
> 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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