Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
compass logo


Wiley-Blackwell Language & Linguistics Compass Discussion Forum



Post a comment about this article!
 
Title: The Prehistory and Internal Relationships of Australian Languages
Author(s): Patrick McConvell , Claire Bowern
Journal Title: Language and Linguistics Compass
Volume: 5
Issue: 1
Page Range: 19–32
Publication Date: Jan-2011
Abstract: Australian linguistic prehistory has lagged behind equivalent endeavours on other continents in part because of the dearth of grammars and dictionaries until recent times, when there has been a great deal of high quality work done. Australianist linguists have tended not to use the standard comparative method. In some cases, this was because it was prematurely judged inapplicable in Australia, due to supposed very high levels of diffusion, which did not allow cognates to be distinguished from loans. This view is losing ground as more solid reconstruction work is being done on the Pama-Nyungan family, Pama-Nyungan subgroups and Non-Pama-Nyungan families. As these results accumulate, together with studies of the linguistic stratigraphy of loanwords, they provide a more solid basis for hypotheses about the sociocultural and environmental prehistory that can then be tested against the results of other disciplines. Gradually a more detailed picture is emerging of an eventful and dynamic last 10,000 years; linguistic evidence is crucial here. This is challenging the former view of relative stasis and equilibrium after the initial human colonisation 40,000–50,000 years ago.

See FULL TEXT
Click here to
read the FULL TEXT of this article on Wiley-Blackwell Language & Linguistics Compass!


Comment Board

Join the Discussion!

Add your voice!
Use the form below to post your own comment to this discussion.
Required fields are marked by a *
(Email addresses will not be displayed)
Display Name:
* First name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* Subject:
* Comment:
* Comment must be less than 4,000 characters
To prevent the use of this form by spam robots, please fill in this (case-sensitive) password:
CAPTCHA Image