Genealogical Classification

Søren Wichmann

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Genealogical Classification

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
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In spite of a long tradition of linguists dealing empirically with the classification of languages, genealogical classification does not stand out as a subfield of linguistics or even of historical linguistics. It is only during the early 21st century that introductions to issues of language classification are beginning to fill more than just a few pages in textbooks. The change is largely due to the increasing popularity and practical viability of computational methods in language classification. The present article is biased toward early 21st-century literature for the same reason. The general criterion for including a work in this bibliography is that it should make an explicit methodological contribution—the only exceptions being the first section on introductory works and the last on empirical contributions. The latter, however, is restricted to classifications on a worldwide basis and to a list of some works that can be viewed as models for establishing relatedness among languages. There is a certain discrepancy between theory and practice in language classification because many proposed methods have had little practical application, and far from all of the empirical work has followed strict, methodological guidelines. Thus the present selection of works is not necessarily representative of the practice of historical linguists, but it does attempt to include all the major theoretical works that have to a greater or lesser extent guided practitioners.

Article.  13312 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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