Review of Kilarski (2021): A History of the Study of the Indigenous Languages of North America

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In this review I hope to give a clear picture of the originality, solidity and significance of the research here contained, but must first advise readers that this is not the broad history that the title leads one to expect. Its scope is in fact quite narrow. Having detected how “little attention has been paid to the history of individual linguistic examples” (p. 1), Kilarski says in the introductory chapter that “This book aims at filling the gap in the historiography of Americanist linguistics by offering a comprehensive analysis of the variable functions of references to Algonquian, Iroquoian and Eskimo-Aleut languages […]” (p. 2). “More specifically, I examine descriptions of selected phonological, lexical and grammatical phenomena” which commentators have used “to illustrate what they perceived as the most characteristic properties of the languages and their speakers” (p. 1).
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistoriographia Linguistica: International Journal for the History of the Language Sciences
Early online date15 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2023


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