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History of Indo-European languages: alignment change as a clue

Toyota, Junichi LU (2008) Early European languages in the eyes of modern linguistics
Abstract
Grammatical structure of Indo-European (IE) languages may appear to be diverse, but it is in fact more systematic than one may think. What is significant in explanation is alignment, i.e. differences represent different stages in the alignment change from active one to accusative one. This means that the grammatical structure was earlier organised by aspectual differences between perfective and imperfective aspect, but it has changed into a transitivity-based structure. There are varying degrees of changes and some languages still carry much residues of earlier active alignment. For instance, sensitivity to aspectual distinction in Slavic languages is one of such residues. On the contrary, some languages have developed new structures, such... (More)
Grammatical structure of Indo-European (IE) languages may appear to be diverse, but it is in fact more systematic than one may think. What is significant in explanation is alignment, i.e. differences represent different stages in the alignment change from active one to accusative one. This means that the grammatical structure was earlier organised by aspectual differences between perfective and imperfective aspect, but it has changed into a transitivity-based structure. There are varying degrees of changes and some languages still carry much residues of earlier active alignment. For instance, sensitivity to aspectual distinction in Slavic languages is one of such residues. On the contrary, some languages have developed new structures, such as the passive voice in English. There are a number of constructions useful for identifying archaicness of languages, which include impersonal verbs, the middle voice/reflexive, grammatical gender (especially neuter), number (especially treatment of mass nouns), case marking, agreement, word order, etc. By comparing them, one can identify how much each language has developed, which allows us to explain the diversity in the Indo-European grammar more systematically.

Alignment change has not been given its deserved attention, but this paper proves that it is significant in historical analysis. (Less)
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Early European languages in the eyes of modern linguistics
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1e132f62-370a-43f6-a14e-cf0ef508b701 (old id 1369329)
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2009-04-08 09:30:17
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@misc{1e132f62-370a-43f6-a14e-cf0ef508b701,
  abstract     = {Grammatical structure of Indo-European (IE) languages may appear to be diverse, but it is in fact more systematic than one may think. What is significant in explanation is alignment, i.e. differences represent different stages in the alignment change from active one to accusative one. This means that the grammatical structure was earlier organised by aspectual differences between perfective and imperfective aspect, but it has changed into a transitivity-based structure. There are varying degrees of changes and some languages still carry much residues of earlier active alignment. For instance, sensitivity to aspectual distinction in Slavic languages is one of such residues. On the contrary, some languages have developed new structures, such as the passive voice in English. There are a number of constructions useful for identifying archaicness of languages, which include impersonal verbs, the middle voice/reflexive, grammatical gender (especially neuter), number (especially treatment of mass nouns), case marking, agreement, word order, etc. By comparing them, one can identify how much each language has developed, which allows us to explain the diversity in the Indo-European grammar more systematically. <br/><br>
 Alignment change has not been given its deserved attention, but this paper proves that it is significant in historical analysis.},
  author       = {Toyota, Junichi},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {History of Indo-European languages: alignment change as a clue},
  year         = {2008},
}