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Minority languages and their value to linguistic studies: beyond sociolinguistics

Toyota, Junichi LU (2009) Language, Literature, Identity
Abstract
Language diversity and minority languages are closely connected and documentation of minority languages is particularly valuable in respect to historical studies, i.e. less-documented languages which are on the verge of extinction often present valuable pieces of information to indicate what languages in the past might have looked like (cf. uniformitarian principle). For instance, the development of earlier verbal inflection often consisted of gerund or verbal noun form used along with the copula verbs. The tense-aspectual inflection was made only on the copula, but rarely on the main verbs themselves. This grammatical state can be hinted from the development of words corresponding ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – a word for ‘yes’ is often derived from... (More)
Language diversity and minority languages are closely connected and documentation of minority languages is particularly valuable in respect to historical studies, i.e. less-documented languages which are on the verge of extinction often present valuable pieces of information to indicate what languages in the past might have looked like (cf. uniformitarian principle). For instance, the development of earlier verbal inflection often consisted of gerund or verbal noun form used along with the copula verbs. The tense-aspectual inflection was made only on the copula, but rarely on the main verbs themselves. This grammatical state can be hinted from the development of words corresponding ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – a word for ‘yes’ is often derived from the copula verb. Judging from the fact that some languages in the world lack such words and they simply repeat the verb for reply, the copula was earlier used more frequently than in modern languages. This line of development is actually visible in, for instance, minority languages such as the Celtic languages. Without such languages, our argument remains highly speculative, but thanks to documentation and analysis of these languages, one can make a large step forward in different field of linguistic analysis. This suggests that one should re-appreciate the value of minority languages. (Less)
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Contribution to conference
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published
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Language, Literature, Identity
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5b4ee600-f41e-4cd4-b5a7-d233a5acae29 (old id 1369322)
date added to LUP
2009-04-08 09:25:54
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:51:40
@misc{5b4ee600-f41e-4cd4-b5a7-d233a5acae29,
  abstract     = {Language diversity and minority languages are closely connected and documentation of minority languages is particularly valuable in respect to historical studies, i.e. less-documented languages which are on the verge of extinction often present valuable pieces of information to indicate what languages in the past might have looked like (cf. uniformitarian principle). For instance, the development of earlier verbal inflection often consisted of gerund or verbal noun form used along with the copula verbs. The tense-aspectual inflection was made only on the copula, but rarely on the main verbs themselves. This grammatical state can be hinted from the development of words corresponding ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – a word for ‘yes’ is often derived from the copula verb. Judging from the fact that some languages in the world lack such words and they simply repeat the verb for reply, the copula was earlier used more frequently than in modern languages. This line of development is actually visible in, for instance, minority languages such as the Celtic languages. Without such languages, our argument remains highly speculative, but thanks to documentation and analysis of these languages, one can make a large step forward in different field of linguistic analysis. This suggests that one should re-appreciate the value of minority languages.},
  author       = {Toyota, Junichi},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Minority languages and their value to linguistic studies: beyond sociolinguistics},
  year         = {2009},
}