Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change

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Evie Coussé, Ferdinand von Mengden
John Benjamins Publishing Company, Jul 15, 2014 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 275 pages
Usage-based approaches to language have gained increasing attention in the last two decades. The importance of change and variation has always been recognized in this framework, but has never received central attention. It is the main aim of this book to fill this gap. Once we recognize that usage is crucial for our understanding of language and linguistic structures, language change and variation inevitably take centre stage in linguistic analysis. Along these lines, the volume presents eight studies by international authors that discuss various approaches to studying language change from a usage-based perspective. Both theoretical issues and empirical case studies are well-represented in this collection. The case studies cover a variety of different languages – ranging from historically well-studied European languages via Japanese to the Amazonian isolate Yurakaré with no written history at all. The book provides new insights relevant for scholars interested in both functional and cognitive linguistic theory, in historical linguists and in language typology.

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Part 1 Challenging mainstream modelsof language change
Part 2 The role of usage in semantic change
Part 3 The role of usage and structurein language change

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