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Review of  Circum-Baltic Languages


Reviewer: Mark L. Chamberlin
Book Title: Circum-Baltic Languages
Book Author: Östen Dahl Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm
Publisher: John Benjamins
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Typology
Subject Language(s): Danish
Estonian
Finnish
Plautdietsch
Latvian
Sami, Southern
Polish
Swedish
Book Announcement: 13.1993

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Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 05:24:31 +0800
From: Mark Chamberlin <malichii@mail.com>
Subject: Dahl & Koptjevskaja-Tamm (2001) Circum-Baltic Languages, Vol. 2


Dahl, Östen and Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, ed. (2001) Circum-Baltic Languages, Volume 2: Grammar and Typology. John Benjamins, hardback ISBN 1-58811-042-7, Studies in Language Companion Series, 55


Mark L. Chamberlin, Acting Director, Center for Interactive Interdisciplinary Information, Tartu, Estonia


Part 4. Selected topics in the grammar of the Circum-Baltic Languages
(part numbering is continued from Volume 1)


Impersonals and passives -- Holvoet
The impact of West Finnic along the Lithuanian and Latvian contact zones is detailed on the basis of nominative in various forms. Some chronological data is provided and a map displays six phrases and their overlapping areas (the last of these symbols did not print but seems to be triangles on the map). The data seems to support both of the hypotheses discussed and is taken to indicate that both were active at different, though unspecified, times.


On the Development of the nominative object in East Baltic -- V. Ambrazas
The impact of West Finnic along the Lithuanian and Latvian contact zones is detailed on the basis of nominative in various forms. Some chronological data is provided and a map displays six phrases and their overlapping areas (the last of these symbols did not print but seems to be triangles on the map). The data seems to support both of the hypotheses discussed and is taken to indicate that both were active at different, though unspecified, times.


Lexical evidence for the parallel development of the Latvian and Livonian verb particles -- B. Wálchli
Concentrates on the center of the contact zone and refers to wider areas and times but a map would help as would some detail of temporal relations. Demonstrates a set of tools for further analysis which is described as necessary because of the complexity of the interactions.


On the developments of the Estonian aspect: The verbal particle 'ára ' -- Helle Metslang
Tracks one particle across the societal and linguistic timescapes of Estonia to produce an interesting examination of the subjugations and coming of age of the culture.


Case systems and syntax in Latvian and Estonian -- B. Metuzále-Kangere and K. Boiko
This article distinguishes case and structural forms with only a slight comparison to French and Indo-European languages. Broader comparisons within Baltic, Fennic and the wider CB world are left to the Synthesis of Part 6.


Genitive positions in Baltic and Finnic languages -- S. Christen
A continuum from multiple usage of attributive genitive structures in Lithuanian and a more restrictive Latvian to a limit of two in the Finnic languages is presented. The word order restrictions this imposes on the former are contrasted with the more diverse patterns of the latter.


Part 5. Typological perspectives
"A piece of the cake" and "a cup of tea": Partitive and pseudo-partitive nominal constructions in the Circum-Baltic languages -- M.Kaptjevskaja-Tamm
Quantifiers and related 'partitive' phrases are used to figuratively and graphically map the relationships between languages and their families in the region and its surrounds. It is the most comprehensive of these articles in its effort to deal with areal connections within its narrow band-width.


Non-verbal predication in the Circum-Baltic languages -- L.Stassen
A typological analysis which identifies linguistic boundary conditions but could do more to establish their significance.


On Circum-Baltic instrumentals and comitatives: To and fro coherence -- T.Stolz
Division of the Baltic region into Coherent and Incoherent languages based on Comitative and Instrumental functions. Posits IE and FU as originally coherent with submembers losing and gaining coherent forms over time. Relational chart-maps of pre-conquest, early literary, and 20th Century portray Germanic contact effects moving Latvian, Estonian and Sami to current coherent patterns. Lithuanian is seen as being in transition and an interesting example of a way language change may occur. Most Slavic and FU languages are presented as incoherent.


Part 6 Synthesis
The Circum-Baltic languages: An areal-typological approach -- M.Kaptjevskaja-Tamm and B.Wálchli
This paper constitutes nearly one fifth of the page count of the two volumes and is a more effective introduction to the work than the bits scattered about in the articles. It would not have done to have put it at the first but there should have been a more prominent notice of its usefulness at the outset.


From the note at the end of the Introduction to each of the volumes of this work, this paper was the product of a six-year typology study begun in 1991, and seems to form a report of the project as a whole. It includes very good notes on regional linguistic, historical, archaeological and genetic findings in the articles and other sources.


For quick access to the work, go to Table 24 on page 729 of this synthesis, the 6 tables of the Appendices in volume 2, and the three indexes (same in both volumes).




This two-volume set scratched many of my itching interests, only a few deeper than I needed, but missed a few spots at the lower left along Polish, German and Danish coastal areas and a curiosity about the impact of Russian courtly French on its neighbors and on society in general. It would be -- to use a bit of residual 'lingua Franca' -- 'elegant' (Fr. et-les-gants = 'with gloves on' meaning 'fully dressed').


The Appendices and three following indexes provide an extremely valuable assist in accessing the details of the several articles.
Appendix 1. Language contacts referred to in the volumes 65 cases


Appendix 2. Linguistic phenomena mentioned in the volumes for the origin of which contact induced changes have been evoked
1. Lexical loans/borrowings, etc. 32 cases
2. Phonetics/phonology/prosody 19 cases
3. Word-formation, grammar
3.1 Verb boundaries . . . 5 cases
3.2 Case . . . 5 cases
3.3 Gender 3 cases
3.4 Verbal categories 7 cases
3.5 Other structural phenomena 7 cases
4. Code switching/shifting 3 cases


Indexes are duplicated at the end of each volume
Name index 7 pages
Language index 6 pages
Subject index 7 pages






 
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Mark L. Chamberlin is Acting Director, The Center of Interactive Interdisciplinary Information , Tartu, Estonia, which lets researchers view colleagues' work, collaborate with them online, and share findings with the world. He is a media librarian and specialist in related computer work with a continuing interest in Ethnography.