Diachronic Syntax

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Overview

This is an introduction to syntactic change from the perspective of generative theory. Generative diachronic syntax has developed since the inception of the principles and parameters approach to comparative syntax in the early 1980s and have become increasingly important in historical linguistics and generative theory: it acts as a bridge between them and has provided insights to both. The generative approach was developed to account for synchronic variation: Ian Roberts shows how it may be used to understand how and why languages change. He relates work in historical linguistics to contemporary work on universal grammar and historical syntactic variation. He explains how standard questions in historical linguistics - including word-order change, grammaticalisation, and reanalysis - can be helpfully explored in terms of current generative syntax. He examinbes the nature of the links between syntactic change and first-language acquisition and language learnability and concludes by considering the short and long-term effects of language contact. Professor Roberts illustrates his exposition with numerous examples from a range of different languages and provides guides to further reading and a comprehensive glossary.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199253982
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Series: Oxford Textbooks in Linguistics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Roberts is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his PhD at the University of Southern California in 1985. He has held chairs at the University of Wales, Bangor, and at the University of Stuttgart. His books include The Representation of Implicit and Dethematized Subjects (FORIS, 1987), Verbs and Diachronic Syntax (Kluwer, 1993), Comparative Syntax (Edward Arnold, 1996), Syntactic Change (CUP, 2003, with Anna Roussou), and Principles and Parameters in a VSO Language: A Case Study in Welsh (OUP, 2005).

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Table of Contents

1. Comparative and Historical Syntax in the Principles and Parameters Approach
2. Types of Syntactic Change
3. Acquisition, Learnability, and Syntactic Change
4. The Dynamics of Syntactic Change
5. Contact, Creoles, and Change Readings Epilogue Acronyms and Abbreviations References

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