Summary: This is a major introduction to historical linguistics, designed for students who have no background in historical linguistics but who have at least some knowledge of phonetics, phonology and morphology. Historical linguistic theory is introduced throughout where appropriate, although the book presupposes no acquaintance with contemporary theories of phonology or syntax. The author introduces all major types of change, consequences of change (dialect and language fam ...show moreilies), methods in historical linguistics, and later chapters deal with sociolinguistic aspects of change, language contact, birth and death of languages, language and prehistory and finally the issue of very remote relations.
The book covers the more recent work on the study of phonological changes in progress, on morphological and syntactic change, and on typological approaches to change, and it addresses such recent controversies as the Nostratic hypothesis and the Greenberg/Cavalli-Sforza work on language, genes and teeth. It al
"Larry Trask's introduction to historical linguistics is what I"ve been wanting for years: an introductory undergraduate textbook which presents the latest developments in historical research in a clear, exciting, and straightforward way."--Dorothy Disterheft, University of South Carolina
Encourages students to construct their own accounts, drawing on their own experience of languages
Draws on languages from all six continents
Exceptionally clear and engaging writing style
Numerous exercises at the end of each chapter