[An-lang] dialect chains

Graham Thurgood gthurgood at csuchico.edu
Sat Jul 26 13:44:17 UTC 2003

Dear all,

    Interesting discussion of dialect chains and subgroups.  Certainly
in my experience with the Chamic languages of Vietnam, Hainan, Sumatra,
and Cambodia, the subgroup as a whole is well-defined on the basis of
shared innovations, but the languages within in the subgroup represent a
dialect chain initially along the coast of Vietnam.  For this, I have
used subgroup (in the sense of Ross's innovation-defined subgroup and
dialect chain for what was originally simply one language stretched out
along a considerable coastal span. More complicated situations, however,
would not be amenable to something so simple.

    A comment on the origins of the tree structure on the basis on
shared innovations: The metaphor seems to have come from the Darwinism
of the time as Bill notes, but the methodology certainly came from the
techniques used for reconstructing the historical paths of various
versions of copied texts, as Piotr notes.

Graham Thurgood

-- Graham Thurgood
gthurgood at csuchico.edu

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