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Historical Linguistics and Language Change

Historical Linguistics and Language Change

£62.99

Part of Cambridge Studies in Linguistics

  • Date Published: April 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521459242

£ 62.99
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About the Authors
  • 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 offers a critical survey of the foundations of the art of historical linguistics, and its interaction with its subject matter, language change. He takes as his background some of the major philosophical issues which arise from these considerations, such as ontology, realism and conventionalism, and explanation. Along the way he poses such questions as: where does our data come from; how trustworthy is it; what is the empirical basis for the reconstructive techniques we standardly take as yielding facts; and how much does the historian create data rather than receiving it? The paradoxical conclusion is that our historiographical methods are often better than the data they have to work with.

    • Lass is one of the best-known authors on the list. See his Old English (1994)
    • Current book is the result of many years of thinking about the nature of history, historical explanation, and its philosophical underpinnings
    • Lass well known in English departments as well as in linguistics - book will appeal strongly to both markets
    • Includes discussion on a current strong topic - evolution and language
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a very interesting book, and the reader who is familiar with the basics of historical linguistics will find it inspiring and stimulating.' Moderna Sprak

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521459242
    • length: 448 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    General prologue
    1. The past, the present and the historian
    2. Written records: evidence and argument
    3. Relatedness, ancestry and comparison
    4. Convergence and contact
    5. The nature of reconstruction
    6. Time and change: the shape(s) of history
    7. Explanation and ontology
    References
    Index.

  • Author

    Roger Lass, University of Cape Town

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