Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative by Claire Bowern

By Claire Bowern

This publication addresses debatable concerns within the software of the comparative strategy to the languages of Australia that have lately come to foreign prominence. Are those languages 'different' in ways in which problem the basic assumptions of old linguistics? Can subgrouping be effectively undertaken utilizing the Comparative process? Is the genetic build of a far-flung 'Pama-Nyungan' language kin supportable via vintage equipment of reconstruction? opposite to more and more demonstrated perspectives of the Australian scene, this e-book makes an important contribution to the demonstration that conventional tools can certainly be utilized to those languages. those stories, brought by way of chapters on subgrouping technique and the heritage of Australian linguistic class, carefully follow the comparative strategy to setting up subgroups between Australian languages and justifying the phonology of Proto-Pama-Nyungan. person chapters can profitably be learn both for his or her contribution to Australian linguistic prehistory or as case reports within the program of the comparative technique.

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Relevant situations include confirmation, amendment, revision, or rejection of elements of the OWH schema or proposals for different groupings. I am interested in what groupings are supported and, even more importantly, what kind of evidence is presented in support of each new proposal. Discussion is organised under the headings of: groupings within Pama-Nyungan (PN), classification of non-Pama-Nyungan (nPN) languages, and the status of Pama-Nyungan as a genetic entity. I will not follow the OWH schema in distinguishing terminologically between subgroups and groups or between families and phyla.

Much of Schmidt’s terminology for the naming of languages and linguistic groups has been followed by other scholars. Furthermore, his work represents the first systematic attempt at establishing a large family of Australian languages. Many of his lower-level groups remain valid even in the light of superior modern data (although some border A methodological history of Australian linguistic classification 25 languages may have to be re-assigned). On the other hand, Schmidt’s higher-level groups are not at all reliable, since they are based on inadequate methods.

The last-mentioned is identical to OWH’s Yalyi Subgroup. Table 7: Karnic languages language OWH Arabana-Wangkangurru Arabanic G Wangkamadla Arabanic G Wangka-Yutjurru Pitttapittic G Ulaolinya/Lhanima Pitttapittic G Pittta-Pitta Pitttapittic G Punthamara Dieric G: Ngura SG Garlali Dieric G: Ngura SG Wangkumara Dieric G: Ngura SG Badjiri Dieric G: Ngura SG Diyari Dieric G: Karna SG Ngamini Dieric G: Karna SG Yarluyandi Dieric G: Karna SG Yandruwandha Dieric G: Karna SG Yawarrawarrka Dieric G: Karna SG Mithaka Mitakudic G Birria Dieric G: Karna SG Kungardutyi Dieric G: Karna SG Malyangapa Dieric G: Yalyi SG Wadikali Dieric G: Yalyi SG Breen 1971a Karnic: Narla [= Wangka-Yutjurru Karnic: Palku Karnic: Palku Karnic: Palku Karnic: Ngura Karnic: Ngura Karnic: Ngura Karnic: Ngura Karnic: Karna Karnic: Karna Karnic: Karna Karnic: Karna Karnic: Karna Karnic: Karna Pama-Maric: Kapu Pama-Maric: Kapu (not discussed) (not discussed) Bowern 1998/2001c SW Karnic NW Karnic NW Karnic NW Karnic E Karnic E Karnic E Karnic (not Karnic) Central Karnic Central Karnic Central Karnic Central Karnic Central Karnic Central Karnic (not Karnic) (not Karnic) Yarli Yarli Austin (1990a) reconstructs some 50 lexical items and works out the historical phonology of a subset of these languages that he calls ‘Central Karnic’.

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