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Language and Linguistic Area: Essays by Murray B.

Emeneau, Selected and Introduced by

Anwar S. Dil by Murray B. Emeneau
Review by: Franklin C. Southworth
Language in Society, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Apr., 1981), pp. 125-128
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4167198 .
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Brouwercalls for furtherempiricalinvestigationof intuitionsand stereotypesand

a better understandingof stratificationand its effect on language generally.
None of this will seem startlinglynew to readersof this journal, but the book
no doubt fills a necessary niche in the literaturein Dutch. The recurrentlyquestionable characterof assumptionsand methodology in what there is to review, of
course, is not limited to any language, and the authors'stress on such limitations
is welcome.

Departmentof Linguistics
University of Pennsylvania
(Received 6 May I979)


PA 19104

MuRRAY B. EMENEAU, Language and linguistic area: Essays by Murray B.

Emeneau, selected and introducedby Anwar S. Dil. (Language Science and

National Development, a series sponsored by the Linguistic Research Group
of Pakistan.) Stanford:StanfordUniversity Press, I980. Pp. iv + 371.
MurrayEmeneau had the (apparent)misfortune to receive his Ph.D. in Latin,
Greek, and Sanskrit from Yale University at a time when there were no jobs
available for a person with such training. As a result he had to be "kept alive by
small researchfellowships" between 193I and I940o. Duringthis time he worked
with FranklinEdgertonon Sanskritand attendedclasses with EdwardSapir, thus
obtaining an exposure to the "new linguistics" that amountedto "practicallya
second Ph.D. course" (author'spostscript, 351-52). He subsequently(1935-38)
went to India for linguistic field work on nonliterary Dravidian languages
(Dravidianwas Sapir's suggestion), returningwith a backgroundthat was then,
and still is, almost unique: the best available training in Sanskrit and IndoEuropeancombined with an intimateknowledge of several Dravidianlanguages
and their culturalsettings. Over the years, Emeneauhas used this backgroundto
great advantagein discovering and presentingto the scholarly world a numberof
resemblances between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian - resemblances that most
Sanskritistshad failed to see, or had not wanted to see - and in drawing the
implications of these resemblancesfor historical linguistics and prehistory. Students in these fields may thus be justified in feeling that Emeneau's early misfortune is their great good fortune.
In rereadingsome of the earlier articles, this reviewer remembershis excitement at the first reading and is at the same time struck by the realization that
much of what seemed revolutionary(if not heretical)to a graduatestudentat Yale


at that time has come to be taken for grantedby many scholars today, thanksto
the care and persistence with which Emeneauhas expressed and documentedhis
Emeneau's definition of the term "linguistic area" has been widely quoted:
This term "linguisticarea" may be defined as meaningan area which includes
languages belonging to more than one family but showing traits in common
which are found not to belong to the other members of (at least) one of the
families (I24, n. 28).
He points out that he first saw the term used by H. V. Velten as a translationof
Troubetzkoy's Sprachbund (I24), and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of several other terms (I27). A number of the linguistic features he discusses belong to only a part of the subcontinent(though they all involve languages of more thanone family), and one feature(the numeralclassifiers, Ch. 6)
has a distributionthat goes far beyond India.
The volume contains fifteen papers, three of them writtenspecifically for this
collection, the remainder(several of which have been reprintedelsewhere) originally publishedbetween 1954 and 1974. In addition,thereis an editor's introduction (xi-xiv), an author'spostscript(350-54), and a bibliographyof Emeneau's
works (355-7i). The book is divided into three sections: "Language and Linguistic Areas: General," "India as a Linguistic Area," and "Brahui Language
Studies." Almost all the papers, however, deal with two overlappingconcerns:
(i) the general linguistic area hypothesis - that under certain conditions, languages that remain in contact over long periods of time (whether genetically
relatedor not) can and do exert influence on each other's structure(phonological,
morphological,syntactic, and semantic);and (2) the presentationand meticulous
documentationof specific cases that form the basis for this general hypothesis.
Emeneau's procedurein dealing with these cases involves two steps: first, the
presentation of evidence to establish a trait as an areal feature; second, the
attemptto discover the languageof origin of the trait. Indiais of course a fruitful
laboratoryfor this type of study, because of the existence of old records in both
Indo-Aryanand Dravidian(supplementedby comparativereconstructionsfor the
Emeneau's general thesis seems to have survived rather well, although a
numberof his specific cases have come underattack, particularlythose involving
presumed Dravidianinfluence on Indo-Aryan- and most particularlywhere he
has claimed this influence on the language of the Rigveda, which many
Sanskritistsare not preparedto accept (see, for example, Hock 1975; Deshpande
1979, Thieme I955) - implying as it does that the language of that period may
have been transmittedby non-native speakers(see below). In his I969 paperon
onomatopoetics (Ch. io in the volume under review), Emeneau felt entitled to
of defendingthe generalthesis" each
deny the need to "go throughthe formnality
time a new case is presented(25 I). The strengthof his general case rests partly


on the evidence of Indo-Aryanand Iranianinfluence on the isolated Dravidian

language Brahui (see Ch. I5), which is not only particularlyclear, but also
noncontroversial(so far, at least).
Emeneau's investigationshave includedphonological, morphological, syntactic, lexico-semantic, and phonaestheticfeatures. He has also investigatedpurely
lexical borrowings, particularlyDravidian loans in the Rigveda, but has been
primarilyconcernedwith the diffusion of structure.He concludes that the examples of the influence of Dravidian structureson Sanskritare numerous enough
and of sufficient antiquityto justify the statementthat
a sufficient proportionof certaingenerationsof Sanskritspeakerslearnedtheir
Sanskrit from persons whose original Dravidian linguistic traits were translated into Indo-Aryanand who providedthe model for succeeding generations
Elsewhere, discussing the Brahuicase, he speaks of a "bilingual majority who
handed on to later generationstheir version of Brahui, which was essentially a
calque of Balochi clothed for the most part in Brahui forms" (6o, my italics).
Taken together, the papers in this volume present a very strong case for the
general hypothesis.
Emeneau's work has led to the use of the terms "arealetymology" and "areal
correspondence" to refer to etymologies that are area-focused and that cross
genetic boundaries(see Ch. io). He has made use of semantic reconstructionsin
the historical analysis of lexical features that can best be studied in an areal
context (Ch. 9, Ch. i I). These concepts have been used without sacrificing any
of the rigor of traditional historical-comparativelinguistics. These and other
innovative approachesare likely to be of use to those who follow in Emeneau's
footsteps, both in the Indianarea and elsewhere. His example has alreadystimulated a numberof others to work on similar questions (see, for example, Deshpande & Hook I979; Masica 1976; Southworth& Apte 1974).
There are, of course, other questions that still need to be answered. Why, for
example, were certain features and not others selected for study? (Was it just
those featuresthat seemed so un-Indo-Europeanto the classical scholar?)How do
we know that the diffusion of structuraltraits implies the existence of a "bilingual majority"? (Is it possible to develop a hierarchy within the category of
"intimate" featuresand to correlatethe diffusion of such featureswith different
kinds of contact situations?)Can we develop a general theory of sociolinguistic
change that would allow more detailed prehistoric inferences from lingusitic
similaritiesof the kinds Emeneauhas studied?And going beyond India, to what
extent do Emeneau's conclusions admit of generalization, and to what extent is
the Indian linguistic area unique? I raise these questions not to suggest any
weaknesses in Emeneau's work, but ratherto make the point that, if we can ask
such questions now and hope to find the means of answeringthem, it is in large
part because Emeneau has explored the territoryand markeda trail for us.


Deshpande, Madhav. (1979). Genesis of rigvedic retroflection: A historical and sociolinguistic
investigation. In Deshpande & Hook (1979), 235-315.
& Hook, Peter(eds.). (1979). Aryanand non-Aryanin India. MichiganPapers on Southand
Southeast Asia 14. Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. Ann Arbor: University of
Hock, Hans. (1975). Substratuminfluence on (Rig)-Vedic Sanskrit?Studies in the Linguistic Sciences, Universityof Illinois 5: 76-125.
Masica, Colin. (1976). Defining a linguistic area: SouthAsia. Chicago:Universityof Chicago Press.
Southworth,Franklin,& Apte, MahadevL. (eds.). (1974). Contactand convergence in South Asian
Languages. Special publication of the InternationalJournal of Dravidian Linguistics, Trivandrum, India.
Thieme, Paul. (1955). Review of Burrow, The SanskritLanguage. Language 31: 428-48.

South Asia Regional Studies

Universityof Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(Received 29 September 1980)

On the origin andformation of creoles: A miscelDIRKCHRISTIAAN
The ethnography of variation:
lany of articles, and HuGo SCHUCHARDT,
Selected writings on pidgins and creoles. (Linguistica ExtraneaStudia 3, 4)
Ann Arbor: Karoma, I979. Pp. 91 + 152.

One of the first things thatstrikesthe modem creolist on readingHessling's work

is that its quality is so much betterthanone might expect in such an old work. In
fact, its clear organizationand careful scholarship put it far above much later
writing on the origin of pidgins and creoles, writing that is too often characterized by speculation unsupportedby data or solid argumentation.
In the first article on Dutch in South Africa (published in I897), Hessling is
concerned with the following problem: how did Afrikaansbecome uninflected
and otherwise simplified, comparedwith Dutch, in such a shorttime (fifty years)
when this did not occur in other colonies? Because of the degree of difference
between Dutch and Afrikaans, Hessling immediatelyconcluded that "there can
be no thought of a spontaneousdevelopment of some Netherlandicdialect" (p.
3). He considers three possible hypotheses and argues against the first two.
The first hypothesis is that the Dutch spoken by the colonists in South Africa
borrowedheavily from the speech of the FrenchHuguenotcolonists and a sort of
compromise language was developed. Hessling compares the relevant
grammaticalfeatures of French and Afrikaansand shows them to be quite different. He also makes the point that a language must borrow some amount of
vocabularybefore it will borrowany grammaticalor phonologicalfeatures.Thus
the lack of French vocabulary in Afrikaansis an argumentagainst French borrowings as the cause of the change in South African Dutch.
The second hypothesis is that the Hottentots and slaves who cared for the
Dutch colonists' childrencorruptedDutch and taughtthe corruptedversion to the