It is well-known that Tai-Kadai languages have affected the typological profiles of Southern Sinitic varieties. For example, compared with their northern sisters, Southern Sinitic varieties display a stronger tendency towards head-initial structures, as in the N-N compounds for expressing the sex of animals and in post-verbal temporal adverbs. Given that the Tai-Kadai languages in China have been in contact with Sinitic for over two millennia, it is quite natural to find signs of Sinitic influence therein. Most remarkably, pre-verbal adjunct phrases and pre-nominal relative clauses, which are extremely atypical of VO languages but distinctive of Sinitic, are attested in some Tai-Kadai languages in Southern China. The prevalence of such typologically unusual traits among different linguistic groups in the Lingnan region of Southern China provides strong support for its status as a linguistic area. Devising and adopting a 'mutualist' approach, we analyse the typological data of over 280 language varieties, which we believe illustrates and strongly supports the idea that Western Lingnan qualifies as a linguistic area in its own right according to criteria widely recognized by areal linguists. The approach proposed in this study can be applied to other putative linguistic areas around the world to study the mechanisms and outcomes of contact-induced change under a specific set of ecological conditions.

Establishing a Sprachbund in the Western Lingnan region: Conceptual and methodological issues

Szeto P. Y.
;
2022

Abstract

It is well-known that Tai-Kadai languages have affected the typological profiles of Southern Sinitic varieties. For example, compared with their northern sisters, Southern Sinitic varieties display a stronger tendency towards head-initial structures, as in the N-N compounds for expressing the sex of animals and in post-verbal temporal adverbs. Given that the Tai-Kadai languages in China have been in contact with Sinitic for over two millennia, it is quite natural to find signs of Sinitic influence therein. Most remarkably, pre-verbal adjunct phrases and pre-nominal relative clauses, which are extremely atypical of VO languages but distinctive of Sinitic, are attested in some Tai-Kadai languages in Southern China. The prevalence of such typologically unusual traits among different linguistic groups in the Lingnan region of Southern China provides strong support for its status as a linguistic area. Devising and adopting a 'mutualist' approach, we analyse the typological data of over 280 language varieties, which we believe illustrates and strongly supports the idea that Western Lingnan qualifies as a linguistic area in its own right according to criteria widely recognized by areal linguists. The approach proposed in this study can be applied to other putative linguistic areas around the world to study the mechanisms and outcomes of contact-induced change under a specific set of ecological conditions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3751110
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