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Europe, Eurasia, Southeast Europe, and Southeast Asia: on the Question of Areal Linguistics in the 21st Century

Publication: Philologica Jassyensia, VIII (1), p. 113-124
Publisher:Institutul de Filologie Română „A. Philippide”
Abstract:Although Trubetzkoy introduced the term jazykovoj sojuz ‘language league/union’ in Russian in 1923, it was his 1928 formulation in German that brought the concept of Sprachbund to Europe’s attention, and Trubetzkoy’s example of the Balkans is cited de rigueur in any general work on language contact. Jakobson (1931) took Trubetzkoy’s idea and ran with it, positing a Eurasian Sprachbund, with Russian at its center. One is reminded of Haspelmath’s (1998) suggestion that the “core” of a posited European linguistic area is made up of the countries along the Romance-Germanic divide, which, we can observe, happens to coincide with the core countries of the EU, i.e. the countries of the former EEC. Meanwhile, the Caucasus, South Asia, and Southeast Asia have all also been posited as Sprachbünde. As it turns out, Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia have a remarkable number of both historical and typological similarities that have so far gone unnoticed. In this paper, therefore, I examine how the Southeast European and Southeast Asian Sprachbünde can illuminate one another vis-à-vis “Europe” and “Eurasia” and can also indicate fruitful new directions for research.
Key words:Trubetzkoy, Sprachbund, language contact, Eurasia, Southeast Europe, Southeast Asia, typology
Language: English

Citations to this publication: 1

References in this publication: 0

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