The Rise and Fall of Languages

The Rise and Fall of Languages

by R. M. W. Dixon, Robert M. Dixon
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521626544

ISBN-13: 9780521626545

Pub. Date: 10/28/2006

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book puts forward a new approach to language change, the punctuated equilibrium model. This is based on the premise that during most of the 100,000 or more years that humans have had language, states of equilibrum have existed during which linguistic features diffused across the languages in a given area so that they gradually converged on a common prototype.

Overview

This book puts forward a new approach to language change, the punctuated equilibrium model. This is based on the premise that during most of the 100,000 or more years that humans have had language, states of equilibrum have existed during which linguistic features diffused across the languages in a given area so that they gradually converged on a common prototype. From time to time, the state of equilibrium would be punctuated, with the expansion and split of peoples and of languages. Most recently, as a result of European colonization and globalization of communication, many languages face imminent extinction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521626545
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
169
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.39(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Preliminaries; 3. Linguistic Areas and Diffusion; 4. The Family Tree Model; 5. Modes of change; 6. The Punctuated Equilibrium Model; 7. More on proto-languages; 8. Recent history; 9. Today's priorities; 10. Summary and prospects; Appendix - where the comparative method discovery procedure fails; References; Index.

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