What happens when languages come into contact?
Grammatical or lexical features shared by a group of languages can be due to:
Similarities due to chance
Similarities due to UG:
Similarities due to geographical proximity (‘areal linguistics’):
‘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)
Bella Colla (language)
Main body of Salish (family)
Kwakiutlan (N. Wakashan) family
Haisla (Kitamat, Xa'isla)
Heiltsuk (Bella Bella)
Nootkan (S. Wakashan) family
Nitina(h)t (Nuuchahnulth, T'aat'aaqsapa)
Na-Dene stock (5-6000 years)
New Guinea and adjacent insular Melanesia
west coast of North America
Pacific NW was the 2nd most diverse area of aboriginal N. America (after California)
66 are located to the west of the Rockies
45 are located in the "Pacific strip"
(Goddard 1996: 62 families)
Generalized “Northwest Coast consonant inventory” (51 consonants)
Consonant inventories in UPSID (Maddieson 1984)
Vowel inventories in UPSID:
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
2. Nasalless languages
Also reduced inventory of nasals in nearby languages:
Marginal forms with nasals in Lushootseed (Bates, Hess and Hilbert 1994):
1. ‘small’ and diminutives.
3. In myths, ritual sayings, prayers, and songs, certain characters regularly replace voiced stops with nasals:
b d g gw --> m n w
[mná]: [bdá] ‘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
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.