Sprung from Some Common Source: Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages

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9780804718974: Sprung from Some Common Source: Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages

With its range focused on Indo-European and extending across Eurasia and into the Americas, this collection of seventeen studies investigates various aspects of the long-range comparison and classification of Indo-European and other major language groups. Some of them confront the controversial question of whether Indo-European and certain other language families had, extending the celebrated phrase of Sir William Jones in 1786, 'sprung from some common source'. With comparative linguistics of recent decades in danger of stifling from an excess of caution, the quest for the answer to that question has now been broadened to attempt to find a deeper common source than Proto-Indo-European. This volume surveys the progress of the genetic classification of languages over the years, records recent developments, and points to abundant opportunities for future research. The contributors - some of the world's leading investigators of the genetic classification of languages - have adopted a broad outlook, looking beyond comparative Indo-European linguistics in two ways:

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From Library Journal:

This work offers papers from a 1986 symposium celebrating Sir William Jones's famous 1786 hypothesis that Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin were related--a hypothesis borne out by research. Many of these papers test a later hypothesis that still deeper relationships connecting the established language families can be found. Data from many lesser-known languages are used to show similarities among Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic, Ural-Altaic, and even Sino-Caucasian and Eskimo-Aleut. Though the idea may intrigue general readers, this volume is not light reading, and many linguists still consider the subject controversial. Recommended for specialists and for scholarly collections.
-Catherine V. von Schon, SUNY at Stony Brook
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Sydney Lamb (Editor), E. Mitchell (Editor)
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