Reconstructing linguistic history in a dialect continuum: The Kamta, Rajbanshi, and Northern Deshi Bangla subgroup of Indo-Aryan

Date

2006

Authors

Toulmin, Matthew William Stirling

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Abstract

This study outlines a methodological framework for reconstructing linguistic history within a dialect continuum and applies this methodology to an under-described, controversial, and complex subgroup of New Indo-Aryan (NIA)—the Kamta, Rajbanshi and Northern Deshi Bangla lects (KRNB). ¶ Dialect continua are characterised by non-discrete boundaries between speech communities, and as a result previously divergent lects may undergo common innovations; the result is the familiar picture of overlapping dialectological isoglosses. The sequencing of these innovations and the historical relations between the lects involved are often highly ambiguous. Given the right sociohistorical conditions, a widespread innovation may be more recent than a localised innovation—the very opposite sequencing to that implied by the splits in a family tree. ¶ ...

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Keywords

historical linguistics,, sociohistorical linguistics, dialectology, comparative method, Indo-Aryan, Rajbanshi, Kamta, Deshi Bhasha

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Thesis (PhD)

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DOI

10.25911/5d7a2b0c76304

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