The Rise and Fall of Languages

Dixon, R.M.W. (2010) The Rise and Fall of Languages. Peking University Press, Beijing, China.

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This book puts forward a different approach to language change, the punctuated equilibrium model. This is based on the premise that during most of the 100,000 or more years that humans have had language, states of equilibrium have existed during which linguistic features diffused across the languages in a given area so that they gradually converged on a common prototype. From time to time, the state of equilibrium would be punctuated, with expansion and split of peoples and of languages, most recently, as a result of European colonisation and the globalisation of communication which are likely to result in the extinction, within the next hundred years, of 90% of the languages currently spoken. Professor Dixon suggests that every linguist should assume a responsibility for documenting some of these languages before they disappear.

Item ID: 17261
Item Type: Book (Translation)
ISBN: 978-7-301-17080-9
Additional Information:

This book is a Chinese translated version by Xiaoning Zhu, Zhicheng Yan, Lei Jiao, Sisi Zhuang and Ying Hong.

Chinese title: 语言兴衰论。

Abstract: R.M.W. Dixon是国际著名的语言学家,在语言进化和演变上发表了很多极有影响力的著作。本书中Dixon使用"间断平衡模式"研究语言演变。基于人类在一百万年甚至更早之前就有了语言的假定,作者认为,某个地域不同语言的语言特征扩散时就存在间断平衡模式,并且逐步形成一种共同的语言。传统历史语言学研究基于达尔文"进化论"思想,认为找到了"共同语言的祖先"的证据,Dixon运用全新的方法对此提出了严厉的批评,同时作者也检讨了许多历史语言学的其他理论方法,在国际语言学界产生了巨大影响,对国内学界也将产生革命性影响。另外,Dixon的文风平实生动,兼具学术性和普及性,将受到各种层面的读者的欢迎。在语言进化研究方面国内鲜有译著,本书兼具学术性和普及性,读者群体比较广,国内多名语言学家共同推荐。

Original book can be found at 0521626544

Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2012 04:35
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy @ 50%
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