This is an important book in Areal Typology of India as it establishes that typologically and genetically diverse languages of the country including the modern and tribal language today share their linguistic structures which are manifestations of the shared underlying semantic structures. Drawing examples from a large number of Indian language, the author has been successful in showing that each language, in a typical language contact situation, preserves both individual as well as group identity markers. Basing her arguments on some significant but hitherto ignored grammatical aspects, she has tried to prove that it is mostly those semantic constructs that pertain to perceptive and sensory abilities of a human being that materialize in shared linguistic structures.
The book is a challenge to historical linguists as the homogenized signifier- signifiants relationship that holds among diverse and distinct languages of India, an indicator of strong and stable multilingual community, obscures the temporal dimensions of a language or languages of a 'family'.
About the Author
Anvita Abbi is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Educated at the University of Delhi, Cornell University, U.S.A., she has widely travelled and given extensive lectures at the universities in Europe and America.
An Areal Typologist, she has extensively worked on tribal languages and lesser known languages of lesser known language of India. Language areas she has worked in include Indo Aryan, Dravidian, Austroasiatic and Tibeto Burman. Her recent publications include: Semantic Grammar of Hindi, A Study in Reduplication (1980), Studies in Bilingualism (1986), Semantic Theories and Language Teaching (with V. Praksam) (1986), and Reduplication in South Asian Languages- An Areal, Typological and Historical Study (1991). She is currently engaged in the research on Explicator Compound Verbs in South Asian Languages. She has recently edited a special volume of 'Language Sciences' on India as a Linguistic Area Revisisted. (Tokyo-Japan)
She has been a Fellow at the Indian Institute of advance Study, Shimla, and a Visiting Fellow at Osmania University, Hyderabad.
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