Historical Linguistics

Historical Linguistics : Toward a Twenty-First Century Reintegration

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Bringing the advances of theoretical linguistics to the study of language change in a systematic way, this innovative textbook demonstrates the mutual relevance of historical linguistics and contemporary linguistics. Numerous case studies throughout the book show both that theoretical linguistics can be used to solve problems where traditional approaches to historical linguistics have failed to produce satisfying results, and that the results of historical research can have an impact on theory. The book first explains the nature of human language and the sources of language change in broad terms. It then focuses on different types of language change from contemporary viewpoints, before exploring comparative reconstruction - the most spectacular success of traditional historical linguistics - and the problems inherent in trying to devise new methods for linguistic comparison. Positioned at the cutting edge of the field, the book argues that this approach can and should lead to the re-integration of historical linguistics as one of the core areas in the study of language.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 10 b/w illus.
  • 1139602829
  • 9781139602822

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. The nature of human language and language variation; 2. Language replication and language change; 3. Language change in the speech community; 4. Language contact as a source of change; 5. Sound change; 6. The evolution of phonological rules; 7. Morphology; 8. Morphological change; 9. Syntactic change; 10. Reconstruction; 11. Beyond comparative reconstruction: subgrouping and 'long-distance' relationships; Appendix: recovering the pronunciation of dead languages: types of evidence.
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Review quote

'Engaging, clear, modern, and intellectually honest ... this book will inspire a new generation of work in historical linguistics.' Philomen Probert, University of Oxford '... a thought-provoking and innovative introduction to historical linguistics, combining a masterful command of traditional methods and a wide familiarity with cutting-edge research in theoretical linguistics.' Michael Weiss, Cornell University
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About Joseph F. Eska

Don Ringe is Kahn Term Professor in Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Joseph F. Eska is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English at Virginia College of Technology.
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