Patterns of Change - Change of Patterns: Linguistic Change by Philip Baldi

By Philip Baldi

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Again, verbs are underlined. údaaw.. ché múl. this day QUOT lots rain fall O n this day, it was told, it was raining a lot. élya, that QUOT this mouse woman the-TOPIC At that time, it seems, the mouse lady 9 dálqhac' phwíw, tíikhe cá mii htow. outward look her house there from was looking out from her house. údaaw qhac' daaw maa thabám. really wet outside ground laying The ground was very wet outside. '" The proportion of verbs in Central Pomo differs consistently from that in Tuscarora. The above passage contains only six verbs but nine nouns.

Finally, typological investigation is crucial to diachronic linguistics in another way. Much of the traditional comparative work on Indo-European has, appropriately, been based on an understanding of Indo-European systems of grammar. Certain categories are traditionally isolated and compared, and developmental interrelationships are expected among particular parts of grammars. As has been shown, many North American languages differ typologically from Indo-European languages in important ways. In many cases, the Typology in American Indian historical linguistics 49 grammatical categories to be investigated differ subtly from those in Indo-European languages, and various areas of grammatical structure function and interact differently.

Yet Sapir himself was sufficiently careful in specifying the degree of confidence he was willing to accord his various proposals that this work has proven useful in pointing the way to areas inviting special investigation. Nevertheless, the reliability of structural resemblances as indicators of deeper genetic relationship has not yet been clearly established. Among the grammatical features most often cited as typical of North American languages are the following: i) ii) iii) iv) polysynthesis pronominal affixes incorporation the preference for concepts of action (verbs) rather than concepts of existence (nouns) and the consequent subordination of the latter to the former in the proposition.

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