Comments Jeff Marck university of hawai`i, university of iowa Ssteven Roger Fischer (2001) has recently published arguments for an early Eastern Polynesian protolanguage distinct from ProtoEastern Polynesian and ProtoCentral Eastern Polynesian. Many aspects of the work constitute valuable contributions to fleshing out the early language (pre)history of Eastern Polynesia. Linguists will have many colleagues in archaeology and anthropology who welcome the presentation of some of F's data and conclusions. However, the data do not always mean what F says they do. He deviates from several important conventions in linguistics in his presentation and, in general, the work lacks a well-developed sense of language, population, and their interaction in the sociolinguistic sense. Geologists have a concept called "uniformitarianism," which involves the general idea that geological formations to be observed today are the result of weathering, sedimentary, glacial, uplifting, meteoric, and other processes that, in the main, can be observed today. While there is no similar term with a similar meaning generally employed in linguistics, some writers (Christy 1983, Labov 1994:2125) propose that we should simply use the geological term for our general sociolinguistic concept, which might be stated roughly as "In the main, sociolinguistic processes of prehistory fell within
Oceanic Linguistics – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 1, 2002
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