- Areal feature
linguistics, an areal feature is any typological feature shared by languages within the same geographical area.
Resemblances between two or more languages (whether typological or in vocabulary) can be due to genetic relation (descent from a common ancestor language), or due to borrowing at some time in the past between languages that were not necessarily genetically related. When little or no direct documentation of ancestor languages is available, it can be hard to determine whether a similarity is genetic or areal.
A related concept is a
sprachbund(also known as a linguistic area, convergence area or diffusion area), a group of languages that have become similar in some features because of geographical proximity.
* the use of the plural pronoun as a polite word for "you" in much of Europe (the "tu-vous" distinction)
* the spread of the uvular R from French to several
* the presence of the
vowels y, ø, and œ (known as "front rounded vowels") in languages of northern Eurasia, most especially Scandinavia. This almost certainly originated in the Uralic or Altaic languages
* the change of Proto Indo-European *kw into *p in
P-Celtic, Oscan, and Greek
* possibly the
* postposed article, avoidance of the
infinitive, merging of genitiveand dative, and superessive number formation in languages of the Balkans
* the lack of a p in many of the languages around the Sahara, such as Arabic
* the occurrence of
click consonants in Bantu languages of southern Africa, which originated in the Khoisan languages
* the tendency for the
relative clauseto precede the noun (very rare elsewhere) in languages of South and East Asia
* the prevalence of contrasting phonemic tone in East and Southeast Asia, which may have started with the Miao-Yao or
* the lack of fricatives in
* the spread of a verb-final word order to the
Austronesian languagesof New Guinea.
* and the prevalence of ejective and
lateral fricatives and affricates in the Pacific Northwest of North America
Mass lexical comparisonExamples:
Native American languages#Linguistic areas
East Asian language#Areal linguistic features
African languages#Linguistic features
Australian Aboriginal languages#Common features
* Campbell, Lyle. (In press). Areal linguistics. In K. Brown (Ed.), "Encyclopedia of language and linguistics" (2nd ed.). Oxford: Elsevier. (Online version: http://www.linguistics.utah.edu/Faculty/campbell/CampbellArealLingEnc.doc).
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