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Studies in Language Change

is the imprint of the Centre for Research in Language Change of the Australian National University. The series is published jointly by the Centre and Pacific Linguistics.

Hmong-Mien Hmong-Mien language history Martha Ratliff (SLC-8)

This book presents a new reconstruction of Proto Hmong-Mien, the ancestor language of the modern Hmong-Mien (Miao-Yao) languages of southern China and northern Southeast Asia. It also contains discussion of selected topics in the history of Hmong-Mien: phonological change, tonogenesis and tone development, ancient morphology, numerals and pronouns, language contact, and the ancient Hmong-Mien world. Further details.


Grammatical change
Grammatical change: theory and description Rachel Hendery and Jennifer Hendriks, eds (SLC-6)

This volume comprises a collection of papers on the theme of grammatical change that evolved out of a workshop sponsored by the Centre for Research on Language Change (ANU). The papers extent the boundaries of what has been addressed under the label of ‘grammatical change’ by applying theories and models of grammatical change to new evidence; by illuminating the historical relationships between grammar and other levels of linguistics; and by extending the range of languages that hae been examined from the perspective of grammatical change. Languages discussed include Murriny Patha, Warlpiri, Gurindji, Walmajarri, and Kayardild, Lardil, Yukulta, English, Dutch, German, Afrikaans, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Albanian, Greek, Old Church Slavonic, Tocharian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Quechua, Basque, and Tok Pisin. Further details.


Kamta Indo-Aryan From Linguistic to sociolinguistic reconstruction: the Kamta historical subgroup of Indo-Aryan Matthew Toulmin (SLC-5)

The Indo-Aryan languages and dialects constitute a dialect continuum, characterised by variable, non-discrete boundaries between speech communities. In order to reconstruct linguistic history it is necessary to take stock of this sociolinguistic context and adjust the methods of reconstruction accordingly. This study presents a theoretically robust, sociolinguistic framework for historical reconstruction which supplements a traditional comparative reconstruction of phonology and morphology. Further details.


Worrorran revisited Worrorran revisited: the case for genetic relations among languages of the Northern Kimberley region of Western Australia William B. McGregor and Alan Rumsey (SLC-4)

This book is an attempt to establish the genetic relatedness of a set of some twenty named regional speech varieties of the Northern Kimberley region of Western Australia. We argue that, contrary to recent claims by some scholars, they constitute a genetic family-like unit. The case is argued by application of the comparative method, along with a comparison of lexical similarities (in form and semantics) within the basic vocabularies of the languages. The results of these two independent methods are in substantial agreement, thus providing independent support for our proposals. We also present comparative evidence that three primary subgroups can be distinguished in the family. Further details.


Non-Pama-Nyungan languagesOut of print. See out-of-print catalogue
The Non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region Edited by Nicholas Evans (SLC-3)

A landmark publication in Australian linguistics, this volume illustrates that - despite recent claims by some authors - the comparative method can be successfully applied to Australian languages. It also furnishes a number of detailed and intricate studies of morphological reconstruction applied to complex paradigms. Further details.

 Bindanderean The Binanderean languages of Papua New Guinea: reconstruction and subgrouping Jacinta Smallhorn (SLC-9)

This book breaks new ground with a historical-comparative study of the Binanderean languages of the Morobe and Oro Provinces of southeast mainland Papua New Guinea, a subgroup of the Trans New Guinea family. The author reconstructs the phonology, core lexicon, and some bound morphology of Proto Binandere. She uses shared innovations to construct a family tree, and also discusses the occurrence of parallel phonological changes among Binanderean languages. Binanderean lexical and morphological data are then compared with those of Guhu-Samane, a language long considered to be the closest external relative of the Binanderean family. Evidence of this relationship is presented, along with grounds for excluding it from the family. Finally, the author gives lexical comparisons between Binanderean and four other putative eastern New Guinea subgroups of the Trans New Guinea family, and shows that Binanderean is indeed a likely member of the family. Further details.


Kamta Indo-Aryan
Reconstructing Proto Koiarian: the history of a Papuan language family. Tom Dutton (SLC-7)

In a 1969 publication the author proposed a Koiarian family consisting of six languages: Koita, Koiari, Mountain Koiari, Ömie, Managalasi and Barai. This family, part of the putative Trans New Guinea group of Papuan languages, stretches from around Port Moresby on the southern coast of southeast Papua almost to the sea on the north coast at the eastern end of the Hydrographers’ Ranges. In the current work the author enlarges on the lexicostatistically based 1969 work and applies the comparative method of historical linguistics to the Koiarian languages, identifying shared innovations that define subgroups within the family and reconstructing the protophonology and about 120 lexical items of Proto Koiarian. He provides similar reconstructions for Proto Koiaric and Proto Bariaic, the languages ancestral to the two major subgroups within Koiarian.Further details.


West Bahnaric A Handbook of Comparative Bahnaric, volume 1: West Bahnaric Paul Sidwell and Pascale Jacq (SLC-2)

This book is the first in a series of monographs that present a reconstruction of the phonology and lexicon of each sub-group of the Bahnaric family, and a consolidated reconstruction of Proto Bahnaric. The reconstruction offered here includes 1094 sets of lexical comparisons, with reconstructed proto-forms and extensive etymological commentary.Further details.


Valency-changing devices in Proto Oceanic A study of valency-changing devices in Proto Oceanic Bethwyn Evans (SLC-1)

Many Oceanic Austronesian languages have several valency-changing devices. This work is an historical study of three valency-increasing and two valency-decreasing morphemes, presenting a detailed reconstruction of their forms and functions in the ancestor language, Proto Oceanic. The reconstruction of valency-changing devices is presented within an analysis of morphosyntactic classes of verbs, both in the modern languages and in Proto Oceanic. Further details.