Language contact and change in the Americas

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This paper begins by sketching the current state of studies in the history, especially the contact history, of indigenous languages of the Americas. Most of the historical linguistic research to date has focused on North American languages of the United States and Canada: here the membership and development of most language families have received systematic attention, and there is also a large and growing number of investigations of contact phenomena in North American languages. The historical linguistics of the rest of the Americas is less well developed, but rapid progress is now being made, both in genetic classification and in contact phenomena. The second half of the paper places the chapters in this volume in the context of contact and change in the languages of the Americas.


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