A review of the book The Salish Language Family: Reconstructing Syntax, by P.D. Kroeber

D. Beck
A colleague of mine once commented that he would refuse to give any kind of talk that makes a typological generalization if he knew there was an Americanist, especially a Salishanist, in the room. For people outside the small but growing number of specialists in this family, Salishan languages do seem to have gained a reputation for an extreme, perhaps even perverse, degree of difficulty, an attitude which has no doubt been created in part by a lack of comprehensive, accessible, and
more » ... le, and typologically-oriented reference works. The Salish Language Family, an expansion of Kroebers' doctoral dissertation (University of Chicago, 1991), goes a long way to correcting this lack by offering a detailed account of the synchronic form and diachronic development of subordinate clauses in this unusual and diverse linguistic family. The result is a first-rate scholarly work, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the often sketchy, inaccessible, or obscure nature of the materials that constitute the only data available on so many of these unusual and under-documented languages. The first chapter of the book, a survey of the (by Kroeber's count) twenty-two Salishan languages, begins with a discussion of their location and genetic subgroupings, then moves on to outline Salishan historical phonology, presenting
doi:10.7939/r3fx7v fatcat:z6ntzdqjq5amtn6eb6ymmgyikq