Australian Languages

Classification and the comparative method

ORCID logoClaire Bowern | Harvard University
Harold Koch | Australian National University
ISBN 9789027247612 (Eur) | EUR 125.00
ISBN 9781588115126 (USA) | USD 188.00
ISBN 9789027295118 | EUR 125.00 | USD 188.00
Google Play logo
Netlibrary e-BookNot for resale
ISBN 9781423766414
This book addresses controversial issues in the application of the comparative method to the languages of Australia which have recently come to international prominence. Are these languages ‘different’ in ways that challenge the fundamental assumptions of historical linguistics? Can subgrouping be successfully undertaken using the Comparative Method? Is the genetic construct of a far-flung ‘Pama-Nyungan’ language family supportable by classic methods of reconstruction? Contrary to increasingly established views of the Australian scene, this book makes a major contribution to the demonstration that traditional methods can indeed be applied to these languages. These studies, introduced by chapters on subgrouping methodology and the history of Australian linguistic classification, rigorously apply the comparative method to establishing subgroups among Australian languages and justifying the phonology of Proto-Pama-Nyungan. Individual chapters can profitably be read either for their contribution to Australian linguistic prehistory or as case studies in the application of the comparative method.
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 249] 2004.  xii, 377 pp. (incl. CD-Rom)
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This volume critically assesses interrelationships between Australian languages in the light of the most recent descriptive data and a detailed understanding of the most recent developments in the comparative method. The result is a wonderfully detailed and convincing rebuttal of claims that Australian languages have been subject to different kinds of forces.”
“[...] a strong volume of reconstruction, sophisticated in its methodology and successful in its application.”
“It's by far the best statement I've ever seen on issues of subgrouping methodology; [...] it would be ideal for assignment to students of historical linguistics who need to know about these issues. It is also, of course, a valuable introduction to the issues for specialists in Australian historical linguistics.”
“This book marks a coming of age of Australian historical linguistics. It is the first concerted attempt by Australianists to apply the classical comparative method to the core issues of subgrouping, reconstruction and diffusion and it does so with considerable success.”
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Blevins, Juliette
2017. Areal Sound Patterns: From Perceptual Magnets to Stone Soup. In The Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics,  pp. 88 ff. DOI logo
Bowern, Claire
2010. Historical linguistics in Australia: trees, networks and their implications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365:1559  pp. 3845 ff. DOI logo
Bowern, Claire
2010. Correlates of Language Change in Hunter‐Gatherer and Other ‘Small’ Languages. Language and Linguistics Compass 4:8  pp. 665 ff. DOI logo
Friedlaender, Jonathan, Theodore Schurr, Fred Gentz, George Koki, Françoise Friedlaender, Gisele Horvat, Paul Babb, Sal Cerchio, Frederika Kaestle, Moses Schanfield, Ranjan Deka, Ric Yanagihara & D. Andrew Merriwether
2005. Expanding Southwest Pacific Mitochondrial Haplogroups P and Q. Molecular Biology and Evolution 22:6  pp. 1506 ff. DOI logo
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2009. The Genetic Status of Garrwan. Australian Journal of Linguistics 29:2  pp. 195 ff. DOI logo
Harvey, Mark
2020. Language and Population Shift in Pre-Colonial Australia. In The Language of Hunter-Gatherers,  pp. 392 ff. DOI logo
Haugen, Jason D.
2020. Language Families. In The International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
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2016. Phylogenetic approach to the evolution of color term systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113:48  pp. 13666 ff. DOI logo
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2014. Research priorities in historical-comparative linguistics. Diachronica 31:2  pp. 267 ff. DOI logo
Macklin-Cordes, Jayden L., Claire Bowern & Erich R. Round
2021. Phylogenetic signal in phonotactics. Diachronica 38:2  pp. 210 ff. DOI logo
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2023. Literacy and Linguistic Diversity in Australia. In Global Variation in Literacy Development,  pp. 203 ff. DOI logo
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2015. Early Descriptions of Pama-Nyungan Ergativity. Historiographia Linguistica 42:2-3  pp. 335 ff. DOI logo
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 23 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Electronic/Multimedia Products

Electronic/Multimedia Products

Main BIC Subject

CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2004041132 | Marc record