Typology, contact, change
Language complexity has recently attracted considerable attention from linguists of many different persuasions. This volume – a thematic selection of papers from the conference Approaches to Complexity in Language, held in Helsinki, August 2005 – is the first collection of articles devoted to the topic. The sixteen chapters of the volume approach the notion of language complexity from a variety of perspectives. The papers are divided into three thematic sections that reflect the central themes of the book: Typology and theory, Contact and change, Creoles and pidgins. The book is mainly intended for typologists, historical linguists, contact linguists and creolists, as well as all linguists interested in language complexity in general. As the first collective volume on a very topical theme, the book is expected to be of lasting interest to the linguistic community.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 94] 2008. xiv, 356 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Introduction: The problem of language complexityFred Karlsson, Matti Miestamo and Kaius Sinnemäki | pp. vii–xiv
I. Typology and theory
Complexity in linguistic theory, language learning and language changeWouter Kusters | pp. 3–22
Grammatical complexity in cross-linguistic perspectiveMatti Miestamo | pp. 23–41
Complexity trade-offs between the subsystems of languageGertraud Fenk-Oczlon and August Fenk | pp. 43–65
Complexity trade-offs in core argument markingKaius Sinnemäki | pp. 67–88
Assessing linguistic complexityPatrick Juola | pp. 89–108
How complex are isolating languages?David Gil | pp. 109–131
Complexity in isolating languages: Lexical elaboration versus grammatical economyElizabeth M. Riddle | pp. 133–151
Grammatical resources and linguistic complexity: Sirionó as a language without NP coordinationÖsten Dahl | pp. 153–163
II. Contact and change
Why does a language undress? Strange cases in IndonesiaJohn H. McWhorter | pp. 167–190
Morphological complexity as a parameter of linguistic typology: Hungarian as a contact languageCasper de Groot | pp. 191–215
Language complexity and interlinguistic difficultyEva Lindström | pp. 217–242
Complexity in nominal plural allomorphy: A contrastive survey of ten Germanic languagesAntje Dammel and Sebastian Kürschner | pp. 243–262
III. Creoles and pidgins
The simplicity of creoles in a cross-linguistic perspectiveMikael Parkvall | pp. 265–285
Complexity in numeral systems with an investigation into pidgins and creolesHarald Hammarström | pp. 287–304
Explaining Kabuverdianu nominal plural formationAngela Bartens and Niclas Sandström | pp. 305–320
Complexity and simplicity in minimal lexica: The lexicon of Chinook JargonPäivi Juvonen | pp. 321–340
Index of languages | pp. 341–344
Index of authors | pp. 345–348
Index of subjects | pp. 349–356
“Language complexity is complex! But these top-class linguistics scholars have made startling and brilliant progress towards untangling the complexity - this book is a giant leap forward.”
Peter Trudgill, Fribourg University
“The collection covers a wide range of languages from practically all parts of the world. Many phyla, areas and types are represented in the 'sample' from which the examples are drawn. The same holds for the situations and constellations in which complexity has to be measured. There are diachronic and synchronic studies, comparative and cross-linguistic investigations alongside studies of individual languages. The contributions are empirically well informed. Moreover, the theoretically-minded reader is not disappointed either as the disputed concept of complexity calls for reflections on theory and methodology which are characteristic of many of the articles. [..]I can strongly recommend this book to every linguist who is interested in questions of typological equivalence of language structures.”
Thomas Stolz, University of Bremen, in STUF 62, 2009
“The collections covers a wide range of languages from practically all parts of the world. Many phyla, areas and types are represented in the 'sample' from which the examples are drawn. The same holds for the situations and constellations in which complexity has to be measured. There are diachronic and synchronic studies, comparative and cross-linguistic investigations alongside studies of individual languages. The contributions are empirically well informed. Moreover, the theoretically-minded reader is not disappointed either as the disputed concept of complexity calls for reflections on theory and methodology which are characteristic of many of the articles. [...] No matter how unclear the notion of complexity is, I strongly recommend this book to every linguist who is interested in questions of typological equivalence of language structures.”
Thomas Stolz, University of Bremen, in STUF 62(3): 241-242, 2009
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Main BIC Subject
CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General