By Claire Bowern
This publication addresses debatable matters within the software of the comparative technique to the languages of Australia that have lately come to overseas prominence. Are those languages 'different' in ways in which problem the basic assumptions of ancient linguistics? Can subgrouping be effectively undertaken utilizing the Comparative approach? Is the genetic build of a far-flung 'Pama-Nyungan' language relations supportable by means of vintage equipment of reconstruction? opposite to more and more proven perspectives of the Australian scene, this publication makes an enormous contribution to the demonstration that conventional tools can certainly be utilized to those languages. those reports, brought by means of chapters on subgrouping technique and the heritage of Australian linguistic class, conscientiously follow the comparative technique to setting up subgroups between Australian languages and justifying the phonology of Proto-Pama-Nyungan. person chapters can profitably be learn both for his or her contribution to Australian linguistic prehistory or as case stories within the program of the comparative procedure.
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Extra info for Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method
Inspection of Schmidt’s comparative data on pronouns Schmidt (1919b:Table II) reveals that the singular forms of G(undunggura) are nearly identical to those of Northern Inland Yuin (Ngunawal): 1Sg gula-ngga, 2Sg gulantyi, 3Sg dzanu (Ng) and dzanu-gulangu (G). G free pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person are formed by affixing personal possessive suffixes (or clitics) to an invariant stem gula; the same is true for Ngunawal singular pronouns (the Dual and Plural forms are not given). This style of pronoun formation, widespread in Victorian languages, is found only 22 Harold Koch in these two Yuin-Kuri languages.
Consider his treatment of Gundungurra, a language spoken to the southwest of Sydney. Schmidt (1919a:93-102) recognises, for southeastern New South Wales, a Yuin-Kuri group consisting of a northern subgroup Kuri and a southern subgroup Yuin, although he admits to some uncertainty about the internal organisation of the group. Gundungurra is classified as Kuri. Nevertheless he admits that Gundungurra is the only Kuri language which has nominal possessive suffixes, a trait shared with the Yuin languages.
Here Capell points to cognate classifying formatives that are prefixes in most languages but suffixes in the East Barkly languages such as Wambaya (Capell 1962:9). The diachronisation of noun class typology is discussed in Capell (1979b). In Capell’s work, it appears that structural comparison constitutes a separate category of evidence for genetic relationship, beside the evidence of shared vocabulary. Of the two kinds of evidence, he gives priority to the structural comparison (Capell 1956:9).
Australian Languages: Classification and the Comparative Method by Claire Bowern