- This event has passed.
Linguistics Fridays Colloquium – Biedny et al.
October 18, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Lexical Relations in ‘Central’ Algonquian
Jerome Biedny, Andrea Cudworth, Sarah Holmstrom, Monica Macaulay, Gabrielle Mistretta, Joseph Salmons, Charlotte Vanhecke and Bo Zhan
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The roles of genetic subgrouping vs. areal diffusion within Algonquian are less
understood than many aspects of the family’s history. Goddard and others see a set of
‘Central’ languages in particular as a Sprachbund, while Rhodes and Biedny et al.
propose Central subgroups. One traditional way of testing this question is comparison of
basic vocabulary. We provide an initial analysis here using the Leipzig-Jakarta list. We
assembled data for non-verb lexical items across a broad set of geographically central
languages, adding Passamaquoddy-Maliseet from the east and Cheyenne from the
Plains for comparison. Using a simple method, UGPMA (unweighted pair group method
with arithmetic mean), we find patterns of relatedness that correspond to neither
previous areal nor genetic proposals. Instead, the results point to intense contact
among closely related languages.