The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics

Edited by Claire Bowern, Bethwyn Evans

© 2014 – Routledge

758 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415527897
pub: 2014-06-27
US Dollars$240.00

About the Book

The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics provides a survey of the field covering the methods which underpin current work; models of language change; and the importance of historical linguistics for other subfields of linguistics and other disciplines.

Divided into five sections, the volume encompass a wide range of approaches and addresses issues in the following areas:

  • historical perspectives
  • methods and models
  • language change
  • interfaces
  • regional summaries

Each of the thirty-two chapters is written by a specialist in the field and provides: a introduction to the subject; an analysis of the relationship between the diachronic and synchronic study of the topic; an overview of the main current and critical trends; and examples from primary data. The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics is essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students working in this area.

Chapter 28 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access at It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.


'…this volume represents a great introduction for anyone interested in historical linguistics, as well as in other connected disciplines such as history, archaeology, and molecular anthropology. Also, it represents a good starting point for research and an impressive testimony to the progress achieved in historical linguistics.' - Monica Vasileanu, Romanian Academy, Institute of Linguistics, The LINGUIST List

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Editors’ Introduction: Foundations of the new historical linguistics

1 Claire Bowern and Bethwyn Evans

Part 1 Overviews

  1. Lineage and the constructive imagination: the birth of historical linguistics
  2. Roger Lass

  3. New perspectives in historical linguistics
  4. Paul Kiparsky

  5. Compositionality and change
  6. Nigel Vincent

    Part 2 Methods and models

  7. The Comparative Method
  8. Michael Weiss

  9. The Comparative Method: theoretical issues
  10. Mark Hale

  11. Trees, waves and linkages: models of language diversification
  12. Alexandre François

  13. Language phylogenies
  14. Michael Dunn

  15. Diachronic stability and typology
  16. Søren Wichmann


    Part 3 Language change

  17. The Sound change
  18. Andrew Garrett

  19. Phonological changes
  20. Silke Hamann

  21. Morphological change
  22. Stephen Anderson

  23. Morphological reconstruction
  24. Harold Koch

  25. Functional syntax and language change
  26. Zigmunt Frajzyngier

  27. Generative syntax and language change
  28. Elly van Gelderen

  29. Syntax and Syntactic reconstruction
  30. Jóhanna Barðdal

  31. Lexical semantic change and semantic reconstruction
  32. Matthias Urban

  33. Formal semantics/pragmatics and language change
  34. Ashwini Deo

  35. Discourse
  36. Alexandra D’Arcy

  37. Etymology
  38. Robert Mailhammer

  39. Sign languages in their historical context
  40. Susan D. Fisher

  41. Language acquisition and language change
  42. James N. Stanford

  43. Social dimensions of language change
  44. Lev Michael

  45. Language use, cognitive processes and linguistic change
  46. Joan Bybee and Clayton Beckner

  47. Contact-induced language change
  48. Christopher Lucas

  49. Language attrition and language change

Jane Simpson

Part 4 Interfaces

27 Demographic correlates of language diversity

Simon J. Greenhill

28 Historical linguistics and socio-cultural reconstruction

Patience Epps

29 Prehistory through language and archaeology

Paul Heggarty

30 Historical linguistics and molecular anthropology

Brigitte Pakendorf

Part 5 Regional Summaries

  1. Indo-European: methods and problems
  2. Benjamin W. Fortson IV

  3. Austronesian
  4. Ritsuko Kikusawa

  5. The Austro-Asiatic language phylum: a typology of phonological restructuring
  6. Paul Sidwell

  7. Pama-Nyungan
  8. Luisa Miceli

  9. The Pacific Northwest lingusitic area: historical perspectives

Sarah G. Thomason

About the Series

Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics

Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics provide overviews of a whole subject area or sub-discipline in linguistics, and survey the state of the discipline including emerging and cutting edge areas. Edited by leading scholars, these volumes include contributions from key academics from around the world and are essential reading for both advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students.

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