By Lyle Campbell
Local American languages are spoken from Siberia to Greenland, and from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego; they comprise the southernmost language of the area (Yaghan) and a few of the northernmost (Eskimoan). Campbell's venture is to take inventory of what's at present identified concerning the heritage ofNative American languages and within the technique study the nation of yankee Indian ancient linguistics, and the good fortune and failure of its a variety of methodologies. there's remarkably little consensus within the box, mostly as a result of 1987 book of Language within the Americas by means of Joseph Greenberg. He claimed to track a old relation among all American Indian languages of North and South the USA, implying that the majority of the Western Hemisphere wassettled by means of a unmarried wave of immigration from Asia. This has brought on extreme controversy and Campbell, as a number one pupil within the box, intends this quantity to be, partially, a reaction to Greenberg...
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Extra info for American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America
Charles Darwin, 1838 (pencil notes, quoted in Bowlby 1990:225) I N 1925 E D W A R D S A P I R T H O U G H T that "the real problems of American Indian linguistics have hardly been stated, let alone studied" (1925a:527). Vastly more information is available now, especially descriptive material on many of the languages, and much excellent historical linguistic work involving various Native American language groups has been completed, though many controversies still attend the historical study of these languages.
2. Ives Goddard points out (personal communication) that Hale (1846) presented a rather persuasive account of a post-contact origin for Chinook Jargon. When Hale was in the Northwest Coast area in 1842, he found that the process of developing the pidgin had taken place within living memory; his later view seems to have been influenced by Gibbs. Silverstein, in effect, holds that Chinook Jargon is a jargon, a vocabulary with no identifiable grammar of its own; rather it is mapped onto the grammatical structure of the first language of the particular speaker.
However, in the Americas dependable information on numbers of speakers is not always available; in particular, the estimates for some South American languages are quite rough, and often are not consistent from one source to the next. 14 Summary In this chapter I have attempted to eliminate some misconceptions and to clarify some matters of nomenclature. I have touched on topics that are not to taken up in detail elsewhere in the book but are nevertheless important. Subsequent chapters present an overview and an assessment of Native American historical linguistics.