Year of publication
- 2002 (6) (remove)
- The spread of the Indo-Europeans (2002)
- The publication of Mallory’s book (1989) has rendered much of what I had to say in the present contribution superfluous. The author presents a carefully argued and very well written account of a balanced view on almost every aspect of the problem. Against this background, I shall limit myself to a few points which have not received sufficient attention in the discussion. ...
- General linguistics and Indo-European reconstruction (2002)
- There is good reason to be ambivalent about the usefulness of general considerations in linguistic reconstruction. As a heuristic device, a theoretical framework can certainly be helpful, but the negative potential of aprioristic considerations must not be underestimated. E.g., there is a whole range of phenomena which receive a natural explanation when we assume that glottalization is ancient in Germanic. The methodological question is: why have scholars been reluctant to identify the vestjysk stød with the English glottalization as a historical reality which may have been inherited from the proto-language? The role of general linguistics is to provide an idea of what can be expected in linguistic development, not by theoretical reasoning but by inspection of what actually happens.
- Syntax and semantics in the history of Chinese (2002)
- The philosophy of language comes in three varieties. 1. The functionalist’s view: linguistic forms are instruments used to convey meaningful elements. This is the basis of European structuralism. 2. The formalist’s view: linguistic forms are abstract structures which can be filled with meaningful elements. This is the basis of generative grammar. 3. The parasitologist’s view: linguistic forms are vehicles for the reproduction of meaningful elements. This is the view which I advocated twelve years ago in a Festschrift (1985).
- On Russenorsk (2002)
- The concept of mixed language has recently gained some popularity, to my mind for no good reason. It is unclear how a mixed language can be distinguished from the product of extensive borrowing or relexification. I therefore think that the concept only serves to provoke muddled thinking about linguistic contact and language change. Note e.g. that Munske adduces German as an example "because the author is a professor of German linguistics and because the phenomenon of language mixing can be explained better in relation to a language on which a large amount of research has been done than, for example, in relation to pidgin and creole languages" (1986: 81).
- The Indo-Uralic verb (2002)
- C.C. Uhlenbeck made a distinction between two components of Proto-Indo-European, which he called A and B (1935a: 133ff.). The first component comprises pronouns, verbal roots, and derivational suffixes, and may be compared with Uralic, whereas the second component contains isolated words, such as numerals and most underived nouns, which have a different source. The wide attestation of the Indo-European numerals must be attributed to the development of trade resulting from the increased mobility which was the primary cause of the Indo-European expansions. Numerals do not belong to the basic vocabulary of a neolithic culture, as is clear from their absence in Proto-Uralic (cf. also Collinder 1965: 112) and from the spread of Chinese numerals throughout East Asia. Though Uhlenbeck objects to the term “substratum” for his B complex, I think that it is a perfectly appropriate denomination.
- Japanese wa, mo, ga, wo, na, no (2002)
- Lone Takeuchi’s stimulating book (1999) has given me an opportunity to reconsider my (unpublished) semiotactic analysis of Japanese particles [...].