The present paper attempts to explore the evidence for shared innovations in Cape York Peninsula systematically: is there any such evidence that sheds light on subgrouping, particularly at levels where groupings are not otherwise obvious? After presenting general background, the paper first moves from north to southwest to review evidence on languages that have been grouped as Northern, Middle and Southwest Paman, and then it moves east to cover additional “initial dropping” languages and more conservative languages along the east coast. Much of this evidence is from past comparative work, but occasionally supplemented by new material. This review leads to a conclusion that the occasionally more convincing evidence for shared innovations either relates to such obvious groupings as dialects of the same language or else tends to be swamped by changes that appear to have occurred independently in differently languages and/or tend to provide conflicting evidence for subgrouping.
|Title of host publication||Australian Languages|
|Subtitle of host publication||classification and the comparative method|
|Editors||C Bowern, H Koch|
|Place of Publication||Amsterdam|
|Publisher||John Benjamins Publishing Company|
|Number of pages||27|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|