Kusunda, a language like no other?

May 25, 2012 by

Kusunda is a dying isolate language. Gyani Maiya Sen, a 75-year-old woman from western Nepal, is its last known speaker. There are some 100-160 people in the Kusunda tribe, and some of them know a few words of the language, but nobody...

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Syntactic feature or scribal convention?

Apr 18, 2012 by

In an earlier post, discussing the birch bark document 607/562 (see image on the left), I mentioned a peculiarity of word order in this brief crime report: the appositive phrase (=extra description) NOVGORODSKE SM–¨RDE appears not...

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More on word order, morphological types and historical change

Oct 24, 2011 by

In a comment to the previous posting, Venelina Dimitrova raised a number of interesting issues, which I thought it would be best to address in a separate posting rather than in the comment section. 1. Is there a correlation between...

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Parametric theory of word order, language acquisition and historical c...

Oct 21, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I outlined an alternative theory that treats the order of major sentential constituents — subject, object and verb — not as a primitive, but as a result of several binary factors (called...

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More on the evolution of word order and rare word orders

Oct 21, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed one set of problems with Gell-Mann & Ruhlen’s theory on the origin and evolution of word order (also discussed in an earlier posting); these problems concern the possible...

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