Areal linguistics



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Language contact

What happens when languages come into contact?


bilingualism

diglossia

etc.
Areal linguistics
Grammatical or lexical features shared by a group of languages can be due to:


  • Chance

  • Universal Grammar

  • Geographical proximity ("areal linguistics")

  • Genetics (“historical linguistics”)

Similarities due to chance



  • Irish duine 'man'

  • Navajo diné 'man'

Similarities due to UG:



  • All spoken languages have consonants and vowels.

  • All languages have nouns and verbs.

Similarities due to geographical proximity (‘areal linguistics’):



  • Clicks in south African Bantu languages (e.g. Zulu, Zhosa, S. Sotho, Yeyi) < Khoisan

  • Retroflex consonants in Indo-European languages < Dravidian


The Pacific Northwest Coast

‘stock’ (Nichols 1990) ‘the oldest grouping reachable by application of the standard comparative method’ (e.g. Indo-European)

‘family’ ‘first order split’ (within a stock) (e.g. Germanic, Celtic)

Northwest language families and stocks


Salish stock

Bella Colla (language)

Main body of Salish (family)

Coast division

Tillamook (language)

Central


Tsamosan division

Inland


Maritime

Interior Division

Northern

Southern


Wakashan stock

Kwakiutlan (N. Wakashan) family

Haisla (Kitamat, Xa'isla)

Heiltsuk (Bella Bella)

Kwakw(')ala (Kwakiutl)

Nootkan (S. Wakashan) family

Nootka (Westcoast)

Nitina(h)t (Nuuchahnulth, T'aat'aaqsapa)

Makah

Chimakuan stock



Chimakum/Chemakum

Quileute

Na-Dene stock (5-6000 years)

Tlingit


Athabaskan-Eyak stock

Haida (isolate)

Penutian “superstock”

Tsimshian

Chinookan

Klamath-Sahaptian

Klamath

Sahaptian



Nez Perce

Sahaptin


Oregon Penutian

California Penutian



Genetic density (diversity) in the Pacific NW



Genetic density (Nichols 1992): “the ratio of genetic lineages to square miles in an area"
Areas of the world with the greatest genetic density:

New Guinea and adjacent insular Melanesia

west coast of North America

southeastern U.S.

Mesoamerica

northern Australia


Thompson and Kinkade (1990):

Pacific NW was the 2nd most diverse area of aboriginal N. America (after California)


Jacobsen (1989): approximately 92 families in N. America

66 are located to the west of the Rockies

45 are located in the "Pacific strip"

(Goddard 1996: 62 families)


Language families of N. America which exhibit great western diversity relative to eastern homogeneity:

Na-Dene


Algic

Eskimo-Aleut

Salish

Sahaptian



Uto-Aztecan

Pacific NW areal phenomena




Phonology





  • Richly developed consonantal systems

Generalized “Northwest Coast consonant inventory” (51 consonants)




p p’ b




t t’ d

ts ts’ dz

tl tl’ dl

t t’ d

k k’ g

kw kw’ gw

q q’ G

qw qw’ Gw





(f)

(’ )




s





x

xw



w



h

m




n




l

j








w







m’




n’




l’

j’




’




w’






Consonant inventories in UPSID (Maddieson 1984)

Range: 6-95

Mean: 23


English: 24 consonants


  • Glottalized stops/affricates vs. non-glottalized, glottal stop

  • Velar vs. uvular contrasts (everywhere but Takelman, Oregon Athabaskan)

  • Labialized vs. unlabialized velar and uvular contrasts (everywhere but Haida)

  • Relatively few (Eyak, Athabaskan, Haida) or no (Tlingit, Tillamook) labials; /w/ patterns with labio-velars rather than labials; no labial fricatives

  • One or two series of coronal sibilant affricates

  • Multiple laterals: /l  tl’/ (may lack /l/); no // in Takelma; no /tl’/ in Takelma, Kalapuyan and Coast Tsimshian

  • Relatively few (average 3 or 4, up to 6) distinctively different vowels (typically /i u a /)

Vowel inventories in UPSID:

Range: 3-24

Mean: 9


English: 13-15 vowels

5 vowels: 22%

6 vowels: 14%

7 vowels: 11%

9 vowels: 9%

8 vowels: 8%

12 vowels: 6%

3 vowels: 6%

10 vowels: 5%

Morphology of Pacific NW languages





  • Predominantly polysynthetic

  • Complex morphophonemics

  • Reduplication (but absent in Na-Dene, Haida)

  • Aspectual rather than tense distinctions



Subareas

1. Eyak-Tlingit-Haida-Athabaskan



  • no labial consonants

  • shape based noun classificatory systems

  • SOV word order

2. Nasalless languages




  • Makah and Nitinat (Wakashan)

  • Quileute (Chimakuan)

  • Lushootseed and Twana (Salish)

Also reduced inventory of nasals in nearby languages:



  • Halkomelem (certain dialects): only /m/ (*n > /l/)

  • Comox: /m n/~[b d]

Marginal forms with nasals in Lushootseed (Bates, Hess and Hilbert 1994):

1. ‘small’ and diminutives.


  • ‘small’ /bibad/, /mímad/, /míman’/, /mímn/

  • ‘group of small items’ /máman/

  • In baby talk forms of diminutives, voiced stops may be replaced with nasals.

2. /nsúkm/ ‘west side of Miller Bay’

3. In myths, ritual sayings, prayers, and songs, certain characters regularly replace voiced stops with nasals:

b d g gw --> m n  w
[mná]: [bdá] ‘child’ as pronounced by Raven

[ni]: [di] ‘this one’ as pronounced by Raven

[ni t]: [di t] ‘that’s the one’ as pronounced by Crow’s seagull slaves

Summary





  • Pacific NW was an area of great genetic diversity at time of contact.

  • Phonological and morphological features can be identified that make this a linguistic area.

  • Subareas can also be identified.



References

Bates, Dawn, Thom Hess, and Vi Hilbert (1994) Lushootseed Dictionary. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Jacobsen, William H. (1989) The Pacific Orientation of Western North American Languages. Presented at Circum-Pacific Prehistory Conference, Seattle, WA.

Maddieson, Ian (1984) Patterns of Sounds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nichols, Johanna (1992) Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Shipley, William (1978) Native Languages of California. California, ed. by Robert Heizer. (Handbook of N. American Indians, 8.) Washington DC: Smithsonian. 80-90.

Thompson, Laurence and Dale Kinkade (1990) Languages. Northwest Coast, ed. by Wayne Suttles. (Handbook of N. American Indians, 7.) Washington DC: Smithsonian. 30-51.

Thompson, Laurence and Terry Thompson (1972) Language Universals, Nasals and the Northwest Coast. Studies in Linguistics in Honor of George Trager, ed. by M. Estellie Smith. The Hague: Mouton.










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