Sifting the Evidence

ORCID logoJoseph C. Salmons | University of Wisconsin
Brian D. Joseph | The Ohio State University
ISBN 9789027236463 (Eur) | EUR 110.00
ISBN 9781556195976 (USA) | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027275714 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
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The “Nostratic” hypothesis — positing a common linguistic ancestor for a wide range of language families including Indo-European, Uralic, and Afro-Asiatic — has produced one of the most enduring and often intense controversies in linguistics. Overwhelmingly, though, both supporters of the hypothesis and those who reject it have not dealt directly with one another’s arguments. This volume brings together selected representatives of both sides, as well as a number of agnostic historical linguists, with the aim of examining the evidence for this particular hypothesis in the context of distant genetic relationships generally.
The volume contains discussion of variants of the Nostratic hypothesis (A. Bomhard; J. Greenberg; A. Manaster-Ramer, K. Baertsch, K. Adams, & P. Michalove), the mathematics of chance in determining the relationships posited for Nostratic (R. Oswalt; D. Ringe), and the evidence from particular branches posited in Nostratic (L. Campbell; C. Hodge; A. Vovin), with responses and additional discussion by E. Hamp, B. Vine, W. Baxter and B. Comrie.
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 142] 1998.  vi, 293 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Greenberg's paper is a welcome programmatic introduction to this thinking on Nostratic and Eurasiatic [...] The papers, by Manaster-Ramer et al. Vine and Campbell, represent [...] the best of what current historical linguistics has to offer: philological depth, methodological and theoretical aophistication, and historical sensitivity. Each could be required reading for advanced courses in historical linguistics. [...] Campbell shows a depth and sophistication in his assessment of the Nostratic issue that is a model of scholarly research.”
“[I]t seemed high time to bring prominent proponents of the theory together with some of their most prominent critics, and to see whether some kind of consensus could be reached, if not on the Nostratic theory itself, then at least on criteria for a proper evaluation of its methods and claims. In doing this, this collection of papers is an innovative and welcome endeavor. [...] For any linguist wishing to find an introduction to the nature and problems of the Nostratic debate, this book, more than any single work, should serve as the point of entry.”
“[A] good state of the art report of Nostratic Studies. [...] It helps the clarification of concepts. It proves that it is worthwhile to deal with.”
“[A]n excellent snap-shot of the state of the art, and a very instructive one.”
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2020. Language Contact and Linguistic Research. In The Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
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Kaplan, Judith R.H.
2018. The global lexicostatistical database: A total archive of linguistic prehistory. History of the Human Sciences 31:5  pp. 106 ff. DOI logo
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[no author supplied]
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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  98017514 | Marc record