American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America / Edition 1

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Native American languages are spoken from Siberia to Greenland, and from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego; they include the southernmost language of the world (Yaghan) and some of the northernmost (Eskimoan). Campbell's project is to take stock of what is currently known about the history of Native American languages and in the process examine the state of American Indian historical linguistics, and the success and failure of its various methodologies.

There is remarkably little consensus in the field, largely due to the 1987 publication of Language in the Americas by Joseph Greenberg. He claimed to trace a historical relation between all American Indian languages of North and South America, implying that most of the Western Hemisphere was settled by a single wave of immigration from Asia. This has caused intense controversy and Campbell, as a leading scholar in the field, intends this volume to be, in part, a response to Greenberg. Finally, Campbell demonstrates that the historical study of Native American languages has always relied on up-to-date methodology and theoretical assumptions and did not, as is often believed, lag behind the European historical linguistic tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Campbell's book can serve both as our manifesto and as our textbook."--Language in Society

"This is an excellent book, an extraordinarily useful volume for anyone whose work and interests involve languages of the Americas or, more generally, the methods and results of historical linguistics....This is a true and thoroughly authoritative handbook."--Mother Tongue

"It's the kind of book I wish had been available when I was a student and would have saved me many long hours and fruitless searches in libraries....It will be used for a long time to come and well after the furor about Greenberg has died down."--Margaret Langdon, University of California, San Diego

"A wealth of useful information is provided....The author has compiled and sifted information from a vast area of scholarship, making this as complete and up-to-date a guide to this subject as one could wish."--Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195140507
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/21/2000
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics Series, #4
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Phonetic Symbols
Note on the Classification Lists and the Maps
1 Introduction 3
App Native American Pidgins and Trade Languages 18
2 The History of American Indian Linguistics 26
App Comparison of Major Classifications of North American Languages 86
3 The Origin of Native American Languages 90
4 Languages of North America 107
5 Languages of Middle America 156
6 Languages of South America 170
7 Distant Genetic Relationships: The Methods 206
8 Distant Genetic Relationships: The Proposals 260
9 Linguistic Areas of the Americas 330
Maps 353
Notes 377
References 429
Index of Languages, Language Families, and Proposed Genetic Relationships 483
Author Index 504
Subject Index 510
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