This book looks at the relationship between linguistic universals and language change. Reflecting the resurgence of work in both fields over the last two decades, it addresses two related issues of central importance in linguistics: the balance between synchronic and diachronic factors in accounting for universals of linguistic structure, and the means of distinguishing genuine aspects of a universal human cognitive capacity for language from regularities that may be traced to extraneous origins.
The volume brings together specially commissioned work by leading scholars, including prominent representatives of generative and functional linguistics. It examines rival explanations for linguistic universals and assesses the effectiveness of competing models of language change. The authors investigate patterns and processes of grammatical and lexical change across a wide range of languages; they consider the degree to which common characteristics condition processes of change in related languages; and examine how far differences in linguistic outcomes may be explained by cultural or external factors.
This book will interest the wide range of scholars in linguistics and related fields concerned with language change, historical linguistics, linguistic typology and universals, and the nature of the human language faculty
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Jeff Good is Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University at Buffalo. He was previously a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. He has examined the relationship between grammatical patterns and language change in diverse languages, including Chechen, Saramaccan, Turkish, and languages of the Bantu family. His published work includes articles in Diachronica, Studies in Language, Lingua, and the Yearbook of Morphology.
an excellent addition to the literature on universals and language change. * B. Richard Page, Zeitschrift fur Dialektologie und Linguistik * ...rich insightful theoretical interpretation, along with extensive examination of data and sophisticated statistical analysis. It is also cleverly organized and rigorously edited... Linguistic Universals and Language Change is undoubtedly required reading for anyone interested in linguistic typology and universals, language change and historical linguistics. * Susan Lixia Cheng, Linguistics *
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