Cambridge Studies in Linguistics: Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective Series Number 74

Cambridge Studies in Linguistics: Historical Syntax in Cross-Linguistic Perspective Series Number 74

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In this major new work Alice Harris and Lyle Campbell set out to establish a general framework for the investigation of linguistic change. Systematic cross-linguistic comparison of syntactic change across a wide variety of languages is used to construct hypotheses about the universals and limits of language change more generally. In particular, the authors seek to move closer towards describing the range of causes of syntactic change to develop an understanding of the mechanisms of syntactic change, and to provide an understanding of why some languages undergo certain changes and not others. The authors draw on languages as diverse as Pipil and French, Georgian and Estonian, and the data presented is one of the book's great strengths. Rigor and precision are combined here with a great breadth of scholarship to produce a unique resource for the study of linguistic change, which will be of use to scholars and students alike.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 508 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 32mm | 800g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521478812
  • 9780521478816
  • 1,932,084

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The history of historical syntax: major themes; 3. Overview of a theory of syntactic change; 4. Reanalysis; 5. Extension; 6. Language contact and syntactic borrowing; 7. Processes that simplify bi-clausal structures; 8. Word order; 9. Alignment; 10. On the development of complex constructions; 11. The nature of syntactic change and the issue of causation; 12. Reconstruction of syntax; Appendix; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"A book of this magnitude and comprehensiveness on a topic so neglected in recent linguistics has long been wanting. Harris and Campbell have made an admirable attempt to provide a balanced synthesis of over one hundred years of research on diachronic syntax...while simultaneously attempting to provide some unity to this dipersed field. Thus, they provide a unified methodology and a limited set of mechanisms of change.... ...this book is essentially the only one of its kind; this by itself is a virtue." Paul Manning, Anthropological Linguistics
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