From linguistic areas to areal linguistics explores language
description and typology in terms of areal background, presenting case
studies in areal linguistics. Some concern well-established linguistic
areas such as the Balkan, other regions such as East Nusantara (Indonesia)
and the Guapore-Mamore (Amazon) regions have never before been studied in
an areal perspective, and yet other areas are involved in current debates.
The insight has gained ground that languages owe many of their
characteristics to the languages they are in contact with over time. Yet
the nature of these areal influences remains a matter of debate.
Furthermore, areas are often hard to define. Hence the title: a shift from
linguistic areas as concrete and circumscribed objects to a new way of
doing linguistics: areally. New findings include the observation that there
may be many more language areas than previously recognized. The book is
primarily directed at linguists working in descriptive, comparative,
historical and typological linguistics. Since it covers linguistic areas
from four continents, it will have a wide appeal.