Australian Languages

Classification and the comparative method

| Harvard University
| Australian National University
ISBN 9789027247612 (Eur) | EUR 125.00
ISBN 9781588115126 (USA) | USD 188.00
ISBN 9789027295118 | EUR 125.00 | USD 188.00
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
Contributor’s addresses
Lyle Campbell
Introduction: subgrouping methodology in historical linguistics
Claire Bowern and Harold Koch
A methodological history of Australian linguistic classification
Harold Koch
Pama-Nyungan as a genetic entity
Luisa Miceli
The coherence and distinctiveness of the Pama-Nyungan language family within the Australian linguistic phylum
Geoffrey O’Grady and Kenneth L. Hale
Pama-Nyungan: phonological reconstruction and status as a phylogenetic group
Barry Alpher
The Arandic subgroup of Australian languages
Harold Koch
The Ngumpin-Yapa subgroup
Patrick McConvell and Mary Laughren
Thura-Yura as a subgroup
Jane Simpson and Luise Hercus
The Yarli languages
Luise Hercus and Peter Austin
Evolution of the verb conjugations in the Ngarna languages
Gavan Breen
The failure of the evidence of shared innovations in Cape York Peninsula
Paul Black
Diagnostic similarities and differences between Nyulnyulan and neighbouring languages
Claire Bowern
Revisiting Proto-Mirndi
Ian Green and Rachel Nordlinger
Stem forms and paradigm reshaping in Gunwinyguan
Brett Baker
Combined references
Language index
Subject index
“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.”
Cited by

Cited by 22 other publications

No author info given
2019.  In Noun Phrases in Article-less Languages [Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 253], Crossref logo
Bowern, Claire
2010. Correlates of Language Change in Hunter-Gatherer and Other ‘Small’ Languages. Language and Linguistics Compass 4:8  pp. 665 ff. Crossref 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. Crossref 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. Crossref logo
Harvey, Mark
2009. The Genetic Status of Garrwan. Australian Journal of Linguistics 29:2  pp. 195 ff. Crossref logo
Harvey, Mark
2020.  In The Language of Hunter-Gatherers,  pp. 392 ff. Crossref logo
Haugen, Jason D.
2020.  In The International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology,  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Koch, Harold
2007. Review of Evans (2003): The Non-Pama-Nyungan Languages of Northern Australia: Comparative studies of the continent’s most linguistically complex region. Diachronica 24:2  pp. 405 ff. Crossref logo
Koch, Harold, Robert Mailhammer, Robert A. Blust, Claire Bowern, Don Daniels, Alexandre François, Simon J. Greenhill, Brian D. Joseph, Lawrence A. Reid, Malcolm D. Ross & Paul J. Sidwell
2014. Research priorities in historical-comparative linguistics. Diachronica 31:2  pp. 267 ff. Crossref logo
Macklin-Cordes, Jayden L., Claire Bowern & Erich R. Round
2021. Phylogenetic signal in phonotactics. Diachronica 38:2  pp. 210 ff. Crossref logo
McConvell, Patrick & Claire Bowern
2011. The Prehistory and Internal Relationships of Australian Languages. Language and Linguistics Compass 5:1  pp. 19 ff. Crossref logo
McGregor, William B.
2014.  In Events, Arguments, and Aspects [Studies in Language Companion Series, 152],  pp. 301 ff. Crossref logo
Nichols, Johanna
2015.  In Language Structure and Environment [Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts, 6],  pp. 261 ff. Crossref logo
Nichols, Johanna
2015.  In Mobility and Ancient Society in Asia and the Americas,  pp. 117 ff. Crossref logo
Rangan, Haripriya, Karen L. Bell, David A. Baum, Rachael Fowler, Patrick McConvell, Thomas Saunders, Stef Spronck, Christian A. Kull, Daniel J. Murphy & Brock Fenton
2015. New Genetic and Linguistic Analyses Show Ancient Human Influence on Baobab Evolution and Distribution in Australia. PLOS ONE 10:4  pp. e0119758 ff. Crossref logo
Rose, David
2013. Phylogenesis of the Dreamtime. Linguistics and the Human Sciences 8:3 Crossref logo
Simpson, Jane & Gillian Wigglesworth
2019. Language diversity in Indigenous Australia in the 21st century. Current Issues in Language Planning 20:1  pp. 67 ff. Crossref logo
Stockigt, Clara
2015. Early Descriptions of Pama-Nyungan Ergativity. Historiographia Linguistica 42:2-3  pp. 335 ff. Crossref logo
2008. Australian languages: A singular vision. Journal of Linguistics 44:2  pp. 471 ff. Crossref logo
Turpin, Myfany, Katherine Demuth & April Ngampart Campbell
2014.  In Language Description Informed by Theory [Studies in Language Companion Series, 147],  pp. 49 ff. Crossref logo
Vaughan, Jill & Debbie Loakes
2020.  In The Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 717 ff. Crossref logo
Walkden, George
2019. The many faces of uniformitarianism in linguistics. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 4:1 Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 21 october 2021. 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.

Subjects & Metadata

Electronic/Multimedia Products

Electronic/Multimedia Products
BIC Subject: CFF – Historical & comparative linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2004041132 | Marc record