A Bayesian approach to the classification of Tungusic languages
Here we use computational Bayesian phylogenetic methods to generate a phylogeny of Tungusic languages and estimate the time-depth of the family. Our analysis is based on a dataset of 254 basic vocabulary items collected for 21 Tungusic doculects. Our results are consistent with two previously proposed basic classifications: variants of the Manchu-Tungusic and the North-South classification. We infer a time-depth between the 8th century BC and the 12th century AD. The application of Bayesian phylogenetic methods to Tungusic languages is unprecedented and provides a reliable quantitative basis for previous estimates based on classical historical linguistic and lexicostatistic approaches.
The Oxford Guide to the Transeurasian Languages provides a comprehensive account of the Transeurasian languages, and is the first major reference work in the field since 1965. The term 'Transeurasian' refers to a large group of geographically adjacent languages that includes five uncontroversial linguistic families: Japonic, Koreanic, Tungusic, Mongolic, and Turkic. The historical connection between these languages, however, constitutes one of the most debated issues in historical comparative linguistics. In the present book, a team of leading international scholars in the field take a balanced approach to this controversy, integrating different theoretical frameworks, combining both functional and formal linguistics, and showing that genealogical and areal approaches are in fact compatible with one another. The volume is divided into five parts. Part I deals with the historical sources and periodization of the Transeurasian languages and their classification and typology. In Part II, chapters provide individual structural overviews of the Transeurasian languages and the linguistic subgroups that they belong to, while Part III explores Transeurasian phonology, morphology, syntax, lexis, and semantics from a comparative perspective. Part IV offers a range of areal and genealogical explanations for the correlations observed in the preceding parts. Finally, Part V combines archaeological, genetic, and anthropological perspectives on the identity of speakers of Transeurasian languages. The Oxford Guide to the Transeurasian Languages will be an indispensable resource for specialists in Japonic, Koreanic, Tungusic, Mongolic, and Turkic languages and for anyone with an interest in Transeurasian and comparative linguistics more broadly.
Based on recent results in the field of historical linguistics the author argues that before the Chinese conquest there were at least two cultural and linguistic communities in the area of modern Northern Vietnam - proto-Daic population of lowlands and proto-Viet-Muong population of mountain and foothill areas. The paper shows that the term "ancient Viet" in this situation might be confusing and applying of the term "Lac Viet" to the proto-Viet-Muong speakers of that period is quite dubious. In the absence of common established ethnonyms for two groups the paper suggests that there is the only possibility to denote them is using the terms of linguistic classification.
The paper discusses verbal markers meaning ‘go in order to P’ and ‘come in order to P’ in languages of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Special attention is paid to Forest Nenets and some Tungusic languages. Andative vs. ventive opposition (expressing, respectively, motion from and to the deictic center) is identified in Forest Nenets for the first time. In Forest Nenets, these markers are non-implicative, i. e., in order to use them, the goal situation P does not need to have taken place in the actual world (even where they mark finite verbs in indicative sentences with past reference), only the motion situation. Though most Tungusic languages also have more than one directional-purposive marker, these usually show a different type of an opposition, namely that between ‘go in order to P’ and ‘go in order to P and come back’. The former markers are not deictically oriented, while the latter differ from typical andative markers in that their meaning has a reditive component (‘returning to the initial point’).
As a typological background, the paper also briefly considers data of some languages spoken in other areals. Morphemes with similar, but often not entirely identical meanings, attested cross-linguistically, are usually described as markers of associated motion or motion-cum-purpose categories. The latter term suits the discussed Siberian-language markers best, because, in contrast to the former term, it highlights both the syntactic role of the motion situation participant (where s/he is coreferent with the S/A-participant of the goal situation) and the temporal sequence of the situations.
The article also proposes some observations on the possible grammaticalization paths of motion-cum-purpose markers and provides a tentative list of typological parameters which can be relevant for this domain.
In this paper I show how the inflectional system of the recipient language can influence the strategy of morphological integration of loanwords, and how loanwords themselves can affect the inflectional system. I discuss the morphological integration of Russian nouns in two Southern Tungusic languages: Nanai and Ulch.
These languages are very close to each other and have very similar inflectional systems. At the same time, they treat Russian nouns in rather different ways. In Ulch, Russian nouns appear to form a separate inflectional sub-class.
Both in Nanai and in Ulch, there are two inflectional classes. Stems ending in vowels take one set of inflectional affixes, while stems ending in consonants take another set of inflectional affixes. The range of stem-final consonants is very restricted. The main problem in loanword accommodation is that many Russian nouns have final consonants non-typical of the Nanai and Ulch inflectional systems. This problem is solved in Nanai and Ulch in different ways. Neither in Nanai, nor in Ulch such Russian consonant-final stems are included in the class of native consonant-final stems. In Nanai, they take an epenthetic vowel and behave as standard vowel-final stems (klass-a-wa ‘class-stem-acc.v’). In Ulch, they also take inflectional affixes typical of vowel-final stems, but still end in consonants (klass-wa ‘class-acc.v’). Therefore, such nouns can be analyzed as forming a separate minor exceptional stem class.
A closer look at morphological variation and some surface-level phonetic features attested in the Ulch inflectional system allows us to explain the unexpected strategy of loanword accommodation in Ulch and its differences with that of Nanai. Actually the behavior of Russian loanwords goes in line with the native inflectional system. The crucial factor is that in Ulch the distribution of native nouns by inflection classes is less strict and more complicated than in Nanai. Russian loanwords, which are inflected in Ulch in a non-standard way, in their turn, might influence the native Ulch system of nominal inflection, increasing its instability.
This paper presents several conditioned sound changes in the Rapanui language: replacement of rhotics with glottal stops in the final syllable, further loss of glottal stops in polymoraic words, retention of Proto-Polynesian *h in certain phonetic contexts, metathesis of consonants in adjacent syllables, dissimilation of velar nasals in the vicinity of velar stops, and assimilation of central and back vowels. The sound changes under discussion systematically distinguish between bimoraic and polymoraic lexical roots and some of them also distinguish between lexical and grammatical morphemes. Some of the sound changes are recent and operate on borrowings from Tahitian and European languages. This paper also provides new information on the phonology of Rapanui and, by extension, the Eastern Polynesian subgroup. The findings imply that, in the case of Rapanui, a phonological description would not be satisfactory without an account of productive recent and on-going sound changes.