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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.



October 18, 2019
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


155 Van Hise