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Some Principles on the Use of Macro-Areas in Typological Comparison

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Language Dynamics and Change

Brill

10.1163/22105832-00401001

areality, macro-areas, typology, linguistic area

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Abstract

While the notion of the ‘area’ or ‘Sprachbund’ has a long history in linguistics, with geographically-defined regions frequently cited as a useful means to explain typological distributions, the problem of delimiting areas has not been well addressed. Lists of general-purpose, largely independent ‘macro-areas’ (typically continent size) have been proposed as a step to rule out contact as an explanation for various large-scale linguistic phenomena. This squib points out some problems in some of the currently widely-used predetermined areas, those found in the World Atlas of Language Structures (Haspelmath et al., 2005). Instead, we propose a principled division of the world’s landmasses into six macro-areas that arguably have better geographical independence properties.

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Author and article information

Affiliations
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics & Centre for Language Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands harald.hammarstroem@123456mpi.nl
Department of Linguistics, Australian National University, Australia mark.donohue@123456anu.edu.au
Contributors
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics & Centre for Language Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands harald.hammarstroem@123456mpi.nl
Department of Linguistics, Australian National University, Australia mark.donohue@123456anu.edu.au
Journal
22105832
Language Dynamics and Change
LDC
Brill (The Netherlands)
2210-5824
2210-5832
2014
: 4
: 1
: 167-187
Copyright 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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