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Title: SYNTACTIC CHANGE IN AKKADIAN
THE EVOLUTION OF SENTENTIAL COMPLEMENTATION
By: Guy Deutscher
Format: Hardback

List price: £63.00
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ISBN 10: 0198299885
ISBN 13: 9780198299882
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Publisher: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Pub. date: 9 November, 2000
Pages: 220
Description: Akkadian, an ancient Semitic language spoken in Assyria and Babylonia, is one of the earliest known languages, with a surviving written history from 2500BC to 500BC. Guy Deutscher investigates its development over these two millennia. He shows that changes in the language can be linked to the emergence of complex patterns of communication required by an increasingly sophisticated civilization. His book will interest specialists and general linguists. It offers theformer a significant contribution towards a badly needed historical grammar of Akkadian. Its value for the latter lies not only in the central theoretical questions it addresses on how and why languages change, but in the window it opens to a language that, despite its enormous historical importance,has rarely been presented to non-specialists. The fact that the book links linguistic to social change will also make it of interest to archaeologists and historians of the ancient Near East.
Synopsis: Akkadian is one of the earliest attested languages and the oldest recorded Semitic language. It exists in written record between 2500BC and 500BC, much of it in letters and reports concerned with domestic and business matters, and written in colloquial language. It provides a unique and valuable source for the study of linguistic change but which, perhaps because of the impenetrability of its writing system, has rarely been exploited by linguists. In this book, Guy Deutscher examines the historical development of subordinate structures in Akkadian. A case study comprises the first two parts of the book, presenting an historical grammar of sentential complementation. Part I traces the emergence of new structures and describes how the finite complements first emerged in Babylonian. It also explains the grammaticalization of the quotative construction. Part II is a functional history which examines the changes in the functional roles of different structures. It shows how, during the history of the language, finite complements and embedded questions became more widespread, whereas other structures (e.g. infinite complements, parataxis, etc.) receded.Part III seeks to explain the historical developments in a theoretical light, showing how the development in Akkadian is mirrored in many other languages. It goes on to suggest that the emergence of finite complementation may be seen as 'adaptive' and related to the development of more complex communication patterns. This book will be of interest to both specialists and general linguists alike. For specialists it offers a contribution towards a badly-needed historical grammar of the Akkadian language. For general linguists this book will be of interest not only for the questions which it raises about the nature of complementation, but also for the window which it provides on to this little-known language.
Illustrations: 1 halftone, 4 tables
Publication: UK
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Returns: Returnable
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