Historical Linguistics

Edited by Brian D. Joseph, Hope Dawson

© 2010 – Routledge

2,400 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415454438
pub: 2013-12-08
US Dollars$2015.00

About the Book

Historical linguistics is concerned with the way languages change over time, looking both at the distant past and at the present day, and taking as its point of departure the truism that the only constant in language is that it is always changing. This new title from Routledge’s Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Linguistics, assembles in six volumes foundational and canonical pieces, together with the very best cutting-edge research, from this rich and flourishing field.

With a full index, together with a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editors, which places the collected material in its intellectual context, Historical Linguistics is an essential work of reference. The collection will be particularly useful as an essential database allowing scattered and often fugitive material to be easily located. It will also be welcomed as a crucial tool permitting rapid access to less familiar—and sometimes overlooked—texts. It is a vital one-stop research and pedagogic resource.

Table of Contents


Volume I: Conceptual Bases

1. Ferdinand de Saussure, Cours de linguistique générale [1915], eds. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye, trans. Roy Harris (Gerald Duckworth, 1983) (excerpts).

2. Edward Sapir, Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech (Harcourt Brace, 1921), pp. 157–82.

3. Henning Andersen, ‘Abductive and Deductive Change’, Language, 1973, 49, 765–93.

4. Robert Jeffers, ‘On the Notion "Explanation" in Historical Linguistics’, Historical Linguistics II: Theory and Description in Phonology, eds. J. M. Anderson and Charles Jones (North-Holland, 1974), pp. 231–55.

5. Brian D. Joseph, ‘Diachronic Explanation: Putting Speakers Back Into the Picture’, Explanation in Historical Linguistics, eds. Garry Davis and Greg Iverson (John Benjamins, 1992), pp. 123–44.

6. Henning Andersen, ‘Understanding Linguistic Innovations’, Language Change: Contributions to the Study of its Causes, eds. Leiv Egil Breivik and Ernst Håkon Jahr (de Gruyter, 1989), pp. 5–27.

7. William Labov, ‘Transmission and Diffusion’, Language, 2007, 83, 344–87.

8. Jacqueline Haring Russom, ‘An Examination of the Evidence for OE Indirect Passives’, Linguistic Inquiry, 1982, 13, 4, 677–80.


Physiological Factors

9. John Ohala, ‘The Listener as a Source of Sound Change’, Chicago Linguistic Society, 1981, 17, 2, 178–203.

Psychological/Cognitive Factors

10. Morris Halle, ‘Phonology in Generative Grammar’, Word, 1962, 18, 54–72.

11. Anne Cutler, Jack A. Hawkins, and G. Gilligan, ‘The Suffixing Preference: A Processing Explanation’, Linguistics, 1985, 23, 723–58.

12. Joan L. Bybee, ‘Cognitive Processes in Grammaticalization’, The New Psychology of Language, Vol. 2, ed. Michael Tomasello (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002), pp. 145–68.

3. Functional Factors

13. André Martinet, ‘Function, Structure, and Sound Change’, Word, 1952, 8, 1–32.

14. Theo Vennemann, ‘An Explanation of Drift’, Word Order and Word Order Change, ed. Charles N. Li (University of Texas Press, 1975), pp. 269–305.

15. Joan Bybee, ‘Word Frequency and Context of Use in the Lexical Diffusion of Phonetically Conditioned Sound Change’, Language Variation and Change, 2002, 14, 261–90.

4. Social Factors

16. Penelope Eckert, ‘Adolescent Social Structure and the Spread of Linguistic Change’, Language in Society, 1988, 17, 183–207.

17. William Labov, ‘The Social Motivation of a Sound Change’, Word, 1963, 19, 273–309.

18. Peter Trudgill, ‘Sex, Covert Prestige and Linguistic Change in the Urban British English of Norwich’, Language in Society, 1972, 1, 179–95.

Volume III: Methods in Historical Linguistics

Language Relatedness/Language Families

Comparative Method and Family-Tree Models

19. Antoine Meillet, The Comparative Method in Historical Linguistics [1925], trans. Gordon B. Ford, Jr. (Édouard Champion, 1967) (excerpts).

20. Leonard Bloomfield, ‘A Note on Sound Change’, Language, 1928, 4, 99–100.

21. Henry Hoenigswald, ‘The Principal Step in Comparative Grammar’, Language, 1950, 26, 357–64.

22. Joseph Greenberg, The Languages of Africa (Mouton, 1970) (excerpts).

23. Lyle Campbell, review of Language in the Americas by Joseph Greenberg, Language, 1988, 64, 591–615.

24. Calvert W. Watkins, ‘Etymologies, Equations, and Comparanda: Types and Values, and Criteria for Judgment’, Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology, ed. Philip Baldi (Mouton de Gruyter, 1990), pp. 547–61.

25. Hans Henrich Hock, ‘Swallow Tales: Chance and the "World Etymology" MALIQ’A "Swallow, Throat"’, Chicago Linguistic Society, 1993, 29, 215–38.

26. Eric P. Hamp, ‘Some Draft Principles for Classification’, Nostratic: Sifting the Evidence, eds. Brian D. Joseph and Joseph C. Salmons (John Benjamins, 1998), pp. 13–16.

Computational/Statistical/Mathematical Methods

27. Russell D. Gray and Quentin D. Atkinson, ‘Language-Tree Divergence Times Support the Anatolian Theory of Indo-European Origin’, Nature, 2003, 426, 435–9.

28. Tandy Warnow et al., ‘A Stochastic Model of Language Evolution that Incorporates Homoplasy and Borrowing’, Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory of Languages, eds. Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2006), pp. 75–87.

29. April McMahon and Robert McMahon, ‘Why Linguists Don’t Do Dates: Evidence from Indo-European and Australian Languages’, Phylogenetic Methods and the Prehistory of Languages, eds. Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2006), pp. 153–60.

30. Morris Swadesh, ‘Salishan Internal Relationships’, International Journal of American Linguistics, 1950, 16, 157–65.

31. Knut Bergsland and Hans Vogt, ‘On the Validity of Glottochronology’, Current Anthropology, 1962, 3, 115–30.

32. David Sankoff, ‘On the Rate of Replacement of Word–Meaning Relationships’, Language, 1970, 46, 564–9.

33. Quentin Atkinson et al., ‘From Words to Dates: Water into Wine, Mathemagic or Phylogenetic Inference?’, Transactions of the Philological Society, 2005, 103, 193–219.

3. Results: Some Controversial Cases

34. Mary Haas, The Prehistory of Languages (Mouton, 1969) (excerpts).

35. Ives Goddard, ‘Algonquian, Wiyot, and Yurok: Proving a Distant Genetic Relationship’, Linguistics and Anthropology: In Honor of C. F. Voegelin, eds. Dale Kinade, Kenneth L. Hale, and Oswald Werner (Peter de Ridder, 1975), pp. 249–62.

36. Lyle Campbell, ‘The Quechumaran Hypothesis and Lessons for Distant Genetic Comparison’, Diachronica, 1995, 12, 2, 157–200.

37. James Marshall Unger, ‘Japanese and What Other Altaic Languages’, Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology, ed. Philip Baldi (Mouton de Gruyter, 1990), pp. 547–61.

38. R. L. Trask, ‘Origin and Relatives of the Basque Language: Review of the Evidence’, Towards a History of the Basque Language, eds. José Ignacio Hualde, Joseba A. Lakarra, and R. L. Trask (John Benjamins, 1995), pp. 65–99.

39. Alexander Vovin, ‘The Comparative Method and Ventures Beyond Sino-Tibetan’, Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 1997, 25, 2, 308–36.


Comparative and Internal, at the Phonological Level and Beyond

40. Antoine Meillet, A propos de oistos: Festschrift für Paul Kretschmer (Deutscher Verlag für Jugend und Volk, 1926), pp. 140–1.

41. Calvert Watkins, ‘Towards Proto-Indo-European Syntax: Problems and Pseudo-Problems’, Chicago Linguistic Society, 1976, 12, 2, 306–26.

42. Ives Goddard, ‘Algonquian Linguistic Change and Reconstruction’, Linguistic Change and Reconstruction Methodology, ed. Philip Baldi (Mouton de Gruyter, 1990), pp. 99–114.

43. Wallace L. Chafe, ‘Internal Reconstruction in Seneca’, Language, 1959, 35, 477–95.

2. Typologically Based Methodology in Reconstruction

44. Roman Jakobson, ‘Typological Studies and their Contribution to Historical Comparative Linguistics’, Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Linguists, ed. Eva Sivertsen et al. (Oslo University Press, 1958).

45. Thomas V. Gamkrelidze, ‘Language Typology and Indo-European Reconstruction’, The New Sound of Indo-European: Essays in Phonological Reconstruction, ed. Theo Vennemann (Mouton de Gruyter, 1989), pp. 117–21.

46. George Dunkel, ‘Typology Versus Reconstruction’, Bono Homini Donum: Essays in Historical Linguistics in Honor of J. Alexander Kerns, eds. Yoël Arbeitman and Alan Bomhard (John Benjamins, 1981), pp. 559–69.

47. Michael Job, ‘Did Proto-Indo-European have Glottalized Stops?’, Diachronica, 1995, 12, 2, 237–50.

48. Jack Hawkins, ‘Implicational Universals as Predictors of Word Order Change’, Language, 1979, 55, 618–48.

49. Joseph Greenberg, ‘Synchronic and Diachronic Universals in Phonology’, Language, 1966, 42, 508–17.

50. Paul Kiparsky, ‘Universals Constrain Change, Change Results in Typological Generalizations’, Linguistic Universals and Language Change, ed. Jeff Good (Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 23–53.

Volume IV: Types and Outcomes of Change

Sound Change

51. Charles A. Hockett, ‘The Nature of Sound Change’, A Course in Modern Linguistics (Macmillan, 1958), pp. 439–45.

52. Jay Jasanoff, ‘A Generative View of Historical Linguistics’, Romance Philology, 1971, 25, 1, 74–85.

53. William Labov, ‘Resolving the Neogrammarian Controversy’, Language, 1981, 57, 267–308.

54. William S.-Y. Wang, ‘Competing Changes as a Cause of Residue’, Language, 1969, 45, 9–25.

55. Yakov Malkiel, ‘Each Word has a History of its Own’, Glossa, 1967, 1, 137–49.

56. Paul Kiparsky, ‘The Phonological Basis of Sound Change’, The Handbook of Phonological Theory, ed. John A. Goldsmith (Blackwell, 1995), pp. 640–70

57. Hans Henrich Hock, Language, 1976, 52, 2, 202–20 (review article on Anttila).

58. Brian D. Joseph, ‘Utterance-Finality: Framing the Issues’, Proceedings of LP ’98, Vol. 2, eds. Bohumil Palek, Osamu Fujimura, and Brian Joseph (Charles University Press, 1999), pp. 3–13.

59. John Ohala, ‘The Phonetics of Sound Change’, Historical Linguistics: Problems and Perspectives, ed. Charles Jones (Longman, 1993), pp. 237–78.

Morphological Change

60. Hans Henrich Hock, ‘Analogical Change’, The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, eds. Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda (Blackwell, 2003), pp. 441–60.

61. Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda, ‘The How and Why of Diachronic Morphologization and Demorphologization’, Theoretical Morphology: Approaches in Modern Linguistics, eds. Michael Hammond and Michael Noonan (Academic Press, 1988), pp. 193–210.

62. Theo Vennemann, ‘Phonetic Analogy and Conceptual Analogy’, Schuchardt, the Neogrammarians, and the Transformational Theory of Phonological Change: Four Essays, eds. Theo Vennemann and Terence H. Wilbur (Athenaum, 1972), pp. 181–204.

63. Margaret E. Winters, ‘Jerzy Kurylowicz: The So-Called Laws of Analogy’, trans. Margaret E. Winters, Diachronica, 1995, 12, 1, 113–45.

64. Richard M. Hogg, ‘Analogy as a Source of Morphological Complexity’, Folia Linguistica Historica, 1980, 1, 277–84.

65. Paul Hopper, ‘On Some Principles of Grammaticalization’, Approaches to Grammaticalization, Vol. 1, eds. Elizabeth Traugott and Bernd Heine (John Benjamins, 1991), pp. 17–36.

66. Martin Haspelmath, ‘Why is Grammaticalization Irreversible?’, Linguistics, 1999, 37, 1043–68.

67. Lyle Campbell, ‘What’s Wrong with Grammaticalization?’, Language Sciences, 2001, 23, 2–3, 113–61.

Volume V: Typed and Outcomes of Change

68. Kiparsky, ‘Analogical Change as a Problem in Linguistic Theory’, Linguistics in the Seventies: Directions and Prospects, ed. Braj B. Kachru (University of Illinois Press, 1978), pp. 72–96.

69. Nigel Vincent, ‘Analogy Reconsidered’, Historical Linguistics II: Theory and Description in Phonology (Proceedings of the First International Conference on Historical Linguistics), eds. J. M. Anderson and Charles Jones (North-Holland, 1974), pp. 427–45.

70. Joseph H. Greenberg, ‘How Does a Language Acquire Gender Markers?’, Universals of Human Languages, Vol. 3, eds. Joseph H. Greenberg, Charles A. Ferguson, and Edith A. Moravcsik (MIT Press, 1978), pp. 47–82.

71. Joan L. Bybee and Dan I. Slobin, ‘Rules and Schemas in the Development and Use of the English Past Tense’, Language, 1982, 58, 265–89.

Syntactic Change

72. Talmy Givón, ‘Historical Syntax and Synchronic Morphology: An Archaeologist’s Field Trip’, Chicago Linguistic Society, 1971, 7, 394–415.

73. Anthony Kroch, ‘Reflexes of Grammar in Patterns of Language Change’, Language Variation and Change, 1989, 1, 3, 199–244.

74. Martin Haspelmath, ‘Does Grammaticalization Need Reanalysis?’, Studies in Language, 1998, 22, 2.49–85.

75. Émile Benveniste, ‘Mutations of Linguistic Categories’, Directions for Historical Linguistics, eds. Yakov Malkiel and Winfred Lehmann (University of Texas Press, 1968), pp. 83–94.

76. Mark Hale, ‘Syntactic Change’, Syntax, 1998, 1, 1–15.

77. Charles N. Li and Sandra Thompson, ‘An Explanation of Word Order Change SOV > SOV’, Foundations of Language, 1975, 12, 201–14.

78. Alan Timberlake, ‘Reanalysis and Actualization in Syntactic Change’, Mechanisms of Syntactic Change, ed. Charles N. Li (University of Texas Press, 1977), pp. 141–77.

79. Ian Roberts, ‘Grammaticalisation, the Clausal Hierarchy and Semantic Bleaching’, Gradience, Gradualness and Grammaticalization, eds. Graeme Trousdale and Elizabeth Closs Traugott (John Benjamins, 2010), pp. 45–73.

Semantic/Lexical Change

80. Paul Kay and Luisa Maffi, ‘Color Appearance and the Emergence and Evolution of Basic Color Lexicons’, American Anthropologist, 1999, 101, 743–60.

81. Elizabeth Traugott, ‘On the Rise of Epistemic Meanings in English: An Example of Subjectification in Semantic Change’, Language, 1989, 65, 31–55.

Volume VI: The Social Dimension to Language Change

Socio-Historical Linguistics

The Relationship Between Synchronic Variation and Change

82. Uriel Weinreich, William Labov, and Marvin Herzog, ‘Empirical Foundations for a Theory of Language Change’, Directions for Historical Linguistics: A Symposium, eds. Winifred P. Lehmann and Yakov Malkiel (University of Texas Press, 1968), pp. 95–188.

83. Gillian Sankoff and Hélène Blondeau, ‘Language Change Across the Lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French’, Language, 2007, 83, 560–88.

Diffusion of Innovations

84. Witold Manczak, ‘Bartoli’s "Second Norm"’, Historical Dialectology, ed. Jacek Fisiak (Mouton de Gruyter, 1988), pp. 349–56.

85. James Milroy and Lesley Milroy, ‘Linguistic Change, Social Network and Speaker Innovation’, Journal of Linguistics, 1985, 21, 339–84.

86. Peter Trudgill, ‘Linguistic Change and Diffusion: Description and Explanation in Sociolinguistic Dialect Geography’, Language in Society, 1974, 3, 215–46.

Linguistic Areas

87. Murray Emeneau, ‘India as a Linguistic Area’, Language, 1956, 32, 1–16.

88. Eric P. Hamp, ‘Yugoslavia: A Crossroads of Sprachbünde’, Zeitschrift für Balkanologie, 1989, 25, 1, 44–7.

89. John J. Gumperz and R. Wilson, ‘Convergence and Creolization: A Case from the Indo-Aryan/Dravidian Border in India’, Pidginization and Creolization of Languages, ed. Dell H. Hymes (Cambridge University Press, 1971), pp. 151–67.

90. N. S. Trubetzkoy, ‘Proposition 16’, Actes du Premier congrès international de linguistes (Leiden, 1928), p. 18.

91. Sarah G. Thomason, ‘Linguistic Areas and Language History’, Languages in Contact, eds. Dicky Gilbers, John Nerbonne, and Jos Schaeken (Rodopi, 2000), pp. 311–27.

Language/Dialect Contact

Borrowing and Other Contact-Induced Changes

92. Einar Haugen, ‘The Analysis of Linguistic Borrowing’, Language, 1950, 26, 210–31.

93. Sarah G. Thomason and Terrence Kaufman, ‘The Failure of Linguistic Constraints on Interference’, Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics (University of California Press, 1988), pp. 13–34.

94. Donald Winford, ‘Contact-Induced Changes: Classification and Processes’, Diachronica, 2005, 22, 2, 373–427.

95. Carmen Silva-Corvalán, ‘Bilingualism and Language Change: The Extension of Estar in Los Angeles Spanish’, Language, 1986, 62, 587–608.

Language Shift and Language Death

96. Nancy Dorian, ‘The Fate of Morphological Complexity in Language Death: Evidence from East Sutherland Gaelic’, Language, 1978, 54, 590–609.

97. Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes, ‘Moribund Dialects and the Language Endangerment Canon: The Case of the Ocracoke Brogue’, Language, 1995, 71, 696–721.

Contact Outcomes, Pidginization, and Creolization

98. Sarah G. Thomason, ‘Contact-Induced Language Change and Pidgin/Creole Genesis’, in Norval Smith and Tonjes Veenstra (eds.), Creolization and Contact (Benjamins, 2001), pp. 249–62.

99. Salikoko Mufwene, ‘Language Birth and Death’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 2004, 33, 201–22.

100. Peter Trudgill, ‘Colonial Dialect Contact in the History of European Languages: On the Irrelevance of Identity to New-Dialect Formation’, Language in Society, 2008, 37, 241–54.

Historical Linguistics and (Pre-) History and Culture

101. Johanna Nichols, ‘The Epicenter of the Indo-European Linguistic Spread’, Archaeology and Language I: Theoretical and Methodological Orientations, eds. Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs (Routledge, 1997), pp. 122–48.

102. James P. Mallory, ‘The Homelands of the Indo-Europeans’, Archaeology and Language I: Theoretical and Methodological Orientations, eds. Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs (Routledge, 1997), pp. 93–121.

103. Jay Jasanoff, review of Archaeology and Language by Colin Renfrew, Language, 1988, 64, 800–2.

104. Isidore Dyen, ‘Language Distribution and Migration Theory’, Language, 1956, 32, 611–26.

105. Calvert Watkins, ‘New Parameters in Historical Linguistics, Philology, and Culture History’, Language, 1989, 65, 783–99.

About the Series

Critical Concepts in Linguistics

Routledge Critical Concepts in Linguistics series provides authoritative reprints of the discipline's best and most influential scholarship. This series looks at language from the point of view of the user, at the choices made and the constraints encountered when we use language. Edited by experts in the field, each set puts the development of fundamental concepts and themes into their historical context, as well as providing students and researchers with a snapshot of contemporary debates and current thinking.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General