Blog Archives

Primitive Languages: linguistic determinism and the description of Aranda eighty years on

David Moore University of Western Australia Introduction The view that Australian Aboriginal languages are primitive endured into the twentieth century and is still widespread throughout the Australian community. ‘Primitive languages’ were a means of using linguistic evidence from a language to

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Australia, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Missionary Linguistics, Typology

Joseph Greenberg’s comparative notebooks

Judith Kaplan University of Pennsylvania In John Webster Spargo’s 1931 translation of Holger Pedersen’s contribution to the genre of Disziplingeschichte, readers are introduced to a legion of mostly well-bearded men, marching toward the ‘discovery’ of the Comparative Method. Summing up

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Posted in 20th century, America, History, Linguistics, Typology

Early Descriptions of Gender in Pama-Nyungan Languages

Clara Stockigt University of Adelaide There is little correlation between the existence of a system of gender in Pama-Nyungan languages and the inclusion of a discussion of these systems under the heading “Gender” in early grammatical sources. Of the small

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Posted in 19th century, 20th century, Australia, Field linguistics, Grammars, History, Linguistics, Syntax, Typology

(Non-)universality of word-classes and words: The mid-20th century shift

Martin Haspelmath Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig While looking at a range of views by grammarians on word-class distinctions (noun, verb, adjective etc.) and word division in two recent papers (Haspelmath 2011; 2012a), I was struck by what

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Posted in 20th century, History, Linguistics, Typology, Uncategorized