Sociolinguistic Typology: Social Determinants of Linguistic Complexity

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Oxford University Press, 20/10/2011 - 236 páginas
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Peter Trudgill looks at why human societies at different times and places produce different kinds of language. He considers how far social factors influence language structure and compares languages and dialects spoken across the globe, from Vietnam to Nigeria, Polynesia to Scandinavia, and from Canada to Amazonia. Modesty prevents Pennsylvanian Dutch Mennonites using the verb wotte ('want'); stratified society lies behind complicated Japanese honorifics; and a mountainous homeland suggests why speakers of Tibetan-Burmese Lahu have words for up there and down there. But culture and environment don't explain why Amazonian Jarawara needs three past tenses, nor why Nigerian Igbo can make do with eight adjectives, nor why most languages spoken in high altitudes do not exhibit an array of spatial demonstratives. Nor do they account for some languages changing faster than others or why some get more complex while others get simpler. The author looks at these and many other puzzles, exploring the social, linguistic, and other factors that might explain them and in the context of a huge range of languages and societies. Peter Trudgill writes readably, accessibly, and congenially. His book is jargon-free, informed by acute observation, and enlivened by argument: it will appeal to everyone with an interest in the interactions of language with culture, environment, and society.
  

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Conteúdo

1 Sociolinguistic typology and the speed of change
1
2 Complexification simplification and two types of contact
15
3 Isolation and complexification
62
4 Mechanisms of complexification
91
5 Contact and isolation in phonology
116
6 Mature phenomena and societies of intimates
146
On the future of linguistic complexity
185
Bibliography
190
Index
225
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Sobre o autor (2011)


Peter Trudgill is Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Agder, Norway. He has held Chairs in Linguistics at the Universities of Reading, Essex, Lausanne, and Fribourg (where he is now Emeritus). He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University and Honorary Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of East Anglia. His many books include Sociolinguistics: an Introduction to Language and Society (Penguin, 1974, 4th edn 2000), On Dialect (Blackwell, 1983), Dialects in Contact (Blackwell, 1986), The Dialects of England (Blackwell 1990, 2nd end 1999), New-Dialect Formation: on the Inevitability of Colonial Englishes (Edinburgh, 2004), and Investigations in Sociohistorical Linguistics: Stories of Colonisation and Contact (CUP 2010).

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