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Samiska ord för ord: Att mäta lexikalt avstånd mellan språk
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages, Finno-Ugric Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3324-3642
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Most of the classical methods of language and dialect classification are based on a diachronic analysis of phonological differences between the language varieties concerned. Because of this fact, such classifications are not always a reliable basis for describing the current distances between varieties, since diachronic differences and similarities do not automatically produce the same results as synchronic comparisons. Furthermore, phonological coincidences do not have the same relevance as lexical ones when it comes to the level of mutual understanding, which must be regarded as an important factor in describing current linguistic distances. As one of the most important aims of this thesis, therefore, a new method is presented for the classification of genetically related linguistic varieties, based on synchronic lexical comparisons. The ultimate purpose of this lexical method is not to supersede the phonological approach, but to complement it.

The research corpus consists primarily of a certain number of the most frequent words of the varieties analysed . This basic vocabulary is assumed to most adequately represent the lexicon of a language or a dialect. As a contrast, Swadesh words (i.e. notions belonging to the historical basic vocabulary, which have been expressed by words in languages for thousands of years) are also analysed, representing a different kind of basic vocabulary. The main aim of the study is to apply the new method to some of the Saami languages, as their linguistic classification has always been problematic – linguists have classified them using similar methods, but with differing results. As a reference to the new findings concerning varieties of Saami, the method has been applied to other Finno-Ugric languages and also, to some extent, to the North Germanic and a number of Romance languages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 190 p.
Studia Uralica Upsaliensia, ISSN 1101-7430 ; 39
Keyword [en]
dialectology, language classification, measuring linguistic distance, lexicology, word frequency, basic vocabulary, Swadesh lists, semantics, synchrony, etymology, Lule Saami, North Saami, Inari Saami, Skolt Saami, Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Komi-Zyrian, Livonian, North Germanic languages, Scandinavian languages, Romance languages
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Finno-Ugric Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234045ISBN: 978-91-554-9071-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-234045DiVA: diva2:755199
Public defence
2014-11-28, Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-11-06 Created: 2014-10-14 Last updated: 2015-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Tillinger, Gabor
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