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How Do Languages Change? (More on "Aberrant" Languages)

George W. Grace
Oceanic Linguistics
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Summer, 1992), pp. 115-130
DOI: 10.2307/3622968
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3622968
Page Count: 16
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How Do Languages Change? (More on "Aberrant" Languages)
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Abstract

"Aberrant" languages are languages which have proved relatively intractable by the comparative method. Within the Austronesian family, such intractable languages are particularly common in Melanesia. The question is how certain languages have become aberrant and certain others not. The reasons are sought in what recent sociolinguistic studies have revealed about the roles of the communities in which languages are spoken in relation both to language structure and to linguistic change. A mainly speculative account is offered of possible patterns of linguistic variation and of the structures of interpersonal links in communities in which tractable and intractable languages are spoken.

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