Language Evolution: Contact, Competition and Change / Edition 1

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Overview

Languages are constantly changing. New words are added to the English language every year, either borrowed or coined, and there is often railing against the 'decline' of the language by public figures. Some languages, such as French and Finnish, have academies to protect them against foreign imports. Yet languages are species-like constructs, which evolve naturally over time. Migration, imperialism, and globalization have blurred boundaries between many of them, producing new ones (such as creoles) and driving some to extinction.

This book examines the processes by which languages change, from the macroecological perspective of competition and natural selection. In a series of chapters, Salikoko Mufwene examines such themes as:

· natural selection in language

· the actuation question and the invisible hand that drives evolution

· multilingualism and language contact

· language birth and language death

· the emergence of Creoles and Pidgins

· the varying impacts of colonization and globalization on language vitality

This comprehensive examination of the organic evolution of language will be essential reading for graduate and senior undergraduate students, and for researchers on the social dynamics of language variation and change, language vitality and death, and even the origins of linguistic diversity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826493705
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 5/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Salikoko S. Mufwene is the Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics as well as Professor on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, USA.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
I: Population Dynamics and Language Evolution
2. Language evolution: The population genetics way
3. Population movements, contacts, competition, selection, and language evolution
4. How population-wide patterns emerge in language evolution: A comparison with highway traffic
5. What do creoles and pidgins tell us about the evolution of language?
6. Race, racialism, and the study of language evolution in America
II: Competition, Selection, And the Development of Creoles
7. Competition and selection in language evolution
8. Transfer and the substrate hypothesis in creolistics
9. Grammaticization and the development of creoles
10. Multilingualism in linguistic history
III: Globalization And Language Vitality
11. Language birth and death
12. Globalization and the myth of killer languages: What's really going on?
13. Myths of globalization: What African demolinguistics reveals
14. A Case Study: The ecology of Gullah's survival
Conclusions

Bibliography

Index

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