Historical Linguistics and Language Change
Language change happens in the spatio-temporal world. Historical linguistics is the craft linguists exercise upon its results, in order to tell coherent stories about it. In a series of linked essays Roger Lass here offers a critical survey of the foundations of the art of historical linguistics, and its interaction with its subject matter, language change, taking as his background some of the major philosophical issues which arise from these considerations. The paradoxical conclusion is that our historiographical methods are often better than the data they have to work with.
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Afrikaans Anttila apomorphy apparently argument attested attractor borrowing century character cladistic claim cognate common complex convergence correspondences course dative defined derived dialects diphthongization discussion distinct etymologies evidence example exaptation explanation fact Finnish forms fricatives function genetic given glosses Grimm's Law guage happens hermeneutic High German historical linguistics homoplasy ical Indo-European innovation instance interpretation isoglosses kind language Lass later Latin least lexical locative look metaphor Middle English modern morphological MSPV nasal Neogrammarian nouns objects occur Old English original orthographies palatalization particular phonetic phonological plesiomorphous plural possible principle problem Proto-Germanic protolanguage reason reconstruction reflexes represent segment semantic sense sequence similar simply South African English speakers spelling structure suggests syllable synchronic syntax texts theory things tion tradition umlaut uniformitarian variation velars verb Verner's Verner's Law voiceless vowel West Germanic WGmc words Yiddish