Linguistic Epidemiology: Semantics and Grammar of Language Contact in Mainland Southeast Asia (Paperback) book cover

Linguistic Epidemiology

Semantics and Grammar of Language Contact in Mainland Southeast Asia

By Nick Enfield

© 2003 – Routledge

416 pages

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This important new study examines in detail a semantic-pragmatic pattern surrounding the basic verb 'acquire' in nearly 30 Southeast Asian languages, concentrating on Lao, Vietnamese, Khmer, Kmhmu, Hmong, and varieties of Chinese.

The book makes a significant contribution to empirical work on semantic and grammatical change in a linguistic area, as well as representing theoretical advances in cognitive semantics. Gricean pragmatics, semantic change, grammaticalization, language contact, and areal linguistics. The book also examines how changes in the speech of individuals actually become changes in large-scale public convention, 'language contact' is reconsidered, and traditional distinctions such as that between 'internal' and 'external' linguistic mechanisms are challenged.

This groundbreaking new book is for specialists in Southeast Asian linguistics as well as scholars of descriptive semantics and pragmatics, grammaticalisation, linguistic change and evolution, areal linguistics and language contact, history and linguistic anthropology.

Table of Contents

Part I: Preliminaries

Part II: Lao

Part III: Other sample languages

Part IV: Conclusion

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Asian Linguistics

Edited by Walter Bisang, Mainz University, Germany

Asia is the world's largest continent, comprising an enormous wealth of languages, both in its present as well as its eventful past. This series contributes to the understanding of this linguistic variety by publishing books from different thoeretical backgrounds and different methodological approaches, dealing with at least one Asian language. By adopting a maximally integrative policy, the editors of the series hope to promote theoretical discussions whose solutions may, in turn, help to overcome the theoretical lean towards West European languages and thus provide a deeper understanding of Asian linguistic structures and of human language in general.

Learn more…

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