Decades of works dedicated to the description of (previously) lesser-known Sinitic languages have effectively dispelled the common myth that these languages share a single "universal Chinese grammar". Yet, the underlying cause of their grammatical variation is still a matter for debate. This paper focuses on typological variation across Sinitic varieties. Through comparing the typological profiles of various Sinitic languages with those of their Altaic and Mainland Southeast Asian (MSEA) neighbors, we discuss to what extent the variation within the Sinitic branch can be attributed to areal diffusion. Taking into account over 360 language varieties of seven different genetic affiliations (Sinitic, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai, Austroasiatic) and 30 linguistic features, we conduct a typological survey with the aid of the phylogenetic program NeighborNet. Our results suggest that convergence towards their non-Sinitic neighbors has likely played a pivotal role in the typological diversity of Sinitic languages. Based primarily on their degree of Altaic/MSEA influence, the Sinitic varieties in our database are classified into four areal groups, namely 1) Northern, 2) Transitional, 3) Central Southeastern, 4) Far Southern. This classification scheme reflects the intricate interplay between areal convergence, regional innovations, and retention of archaic features.

Sinitic as a typological sandwich: Revisiting the notions of Altaicization and Taicization

Szeto P. Y.
;
2021

Abstract

Decades of works dedicated to the description of (previously) lesser-known Sinitic languages have effectively dispelled the common myth that these languages share a single "universal Chinese grammar". Yet, the underlying cause of their grammatical variation is still a matter for debate. This paper focuses on typological variation across Sinitic varieties. Through comparing the typological profiles of various Sinitic languages with those of their Altaic and Mainland Southeast Asian (MSEA) neighbors, we discuss to what extent the variation within the Sinitic branch can be attributed to areal diffusion. Taking into account over 360 language varieties of seven different genetic affiliations (Sinitic, Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Hmong-Mien, Tai-Kadai, Austroasiatic) and 30 linguistic features, we conduct a typological survey with the aid of the phylogenetic program NeighborNet. Our results suggest that convergence towards their non-Sinitic neighbors has likely played a pivotal role in the typological diversity of Sinitic languages. Based primarily on their degree of Altaic/MSEA influence, the Sinitic varieties in our database are classified into four areal groups, namely 1) Northern, 2) Transitional, 3) Central Southeastern, 4) Far Southern. This classification scheme reflects the intricate interplay between areal convergence, regional innovations, and retention of archaic features.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3751108
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