From Case to Adposition

The development of configurational syntax in Indo-European languages

John Hewson | Memorial University of Newfoundland
Vit Bubenik | Memorial University of Newfoundland
ISBN 9789027247957 | EUR 130.00 | USD 195.00
ISBN 9789027292964 | EUR 130.00 | USD 195.00
In the historical development of many languages of the IE phylum the loss of inflectional morphology led to the development of a configurational syntax, where syntactic position marked syntactic role. The first of these configurations was the adposition (preposition or postposition), which developed out of the uninflected particle/preverbs in the older forms of IE, by forming fixed phrases with nominal elements, a pattern later followed in the development of a configurational NP (article + nominal) and VP (auxiliary + verbal).

The authors follow this evolution through almost four thousand years of documentation in all twelve language families of the Indo-European phylum, noting the resemblances between the structure of the original IE case system and the systemic oppositions to be found in the sets of adpositions that replaced it.

Quite apart from its theoretical analyses and proposals which in themselves amount to a new look at many traditional problems, this study has a value in the collected store of information on cases, and on adpositions and their usage. There is also a considerable store of etymological information that is relevant to the description of the systemic development.

[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 280]  2006.  xxx, 420 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“In a clear, succinct, and methodical way, but also with an amazing and admirable command of data from all twelve IE language branches spanning over 3000 years, Hewson and Bubenik offer us a wonderful book with answers to many perplexing questions. This book will become the reference work on the topic, but its worth for typological purposes will also become evident. As in T ense and Aspect in Indo-European Languages (1997), the authors demonstrate why history is important for any meaningful advancement of knowledge. I read the current book with a lot of pleasure and interest, and learned a lot.”
“It's not often that we witness a revolution in linguistics as we do in the present volume. But the study itself demonstrates revolution in language itself as we pass from Latin to French, from Brittanic to Welsh and so on. In the general and massive shift from case to adposition, we have a quantum leap. We have two different analyses of reality. Each is based on a radically different method of systematisation. We become witnesses to a major re-organisation of sentence structure throughout Indo-European, each revealing a similar, yet independent, System of systems. Such a typological shift, as a whole and in individual cases must also be a perceptual shift, i.e. one that looks at things differently, where relationships are realised from a different psycho-mechanical stance.”
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Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2006047967 | Marc record