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Linguistics Across Historical And Geographical Boundaries

PDF LINGUISTICS ACROSS HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL BOUNDARIES is a 1986 festschrift compiled in honour of Jacek Fisiak on the occasion of his 50th birthday. This is a massive two-volume work, the papers within which cover many different facets of linguistics. As my discipline is comparative Indo-European linguistics, it was the papers in this part of the field that I was most interested in.

I think the most striking paper is Roger Lass' "Words without etyma: Germanic 'tooth'", which shows a major limitation of the comparative method and deflates any enthusiasm that secure etyma can be had for any given word in a daughter language. Witold Manczak's "Germanic and other Indo-European languages" presents a curious method for deciding which daughter languages Germanic is most closely related too by comparing the amount of cognates in a given text, the OCS Slavonic gospels and Wulfila's Gothic translation of the Bible, for instance.

That the collection comes from the 1980s is clear in its obligatory inclusion of a paper on glottalic theory, Winfred Lehmann's "Reflexes of PIE d < t'". Fans of syntax will be interested in Dorothy Disterheft's "Consecutives and serials in Indo-European", which collects data from the rather non-obvious pairing of Old Irish and Hittite. An interesting call for sanity comes with Lyle Campbell's "Cautions about loan words and sound correspondences", where we are urged to remember that languages need neither be very different (many Mayan languages are not) nor very similar (Latin "duo" and Armenian "erk" are non-obvious cognates, but cognates they are) to be related. If any of these papers sound interesting, this collection is worth checking out.

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