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11 OCTOBER 2006

LING 213: Language change in English and beyond

Terms 1+2

Sebastian Hoffmann

Willem Hollmann (convenor)

Office hours: Mon 2-3
Room B100A
Phone: (01524 5)94644

Become familiar with some of the key concepts (both more and less wellestablished) in the study of language change
Acquire knowledge of some of the major events in the history of English
Acquire an understanding of the importance of the past for understanding the
present, and as a result, a deeper insight into the shape and structure of English
Learn to appreciate of the sense in which ones understanding of a given language
may be informed by a comparative linguistic perspective
Become aware of broader issues related to language change (psychological, social
and political dimensions)
Become able to plan and conduct a small research project on an instance of
linguistic change, including collection and systematic analysis of data

There is no set textbook for this module but certainly for the first part of the
course the best buy would be Jeremy Smiths (1996) An historical study of English
(London: Routledge). Waterstones on campus stocks it. For the lectures by Anna
Siewierska the main reference will be Harris, Alice C. & Lyle Campbell (1995)
Historical syntax in cross-linguistic perspective (Cambridge: CUP).
Additional (non-compulsory) references will be supplied in the
individual lectures, and several of these will be available for photocopying from
the 213 folder next to my door. See further the bibliography below.

Anna Siewierska
In addition to weekly lectures there are seminars in weeks 2, 3, 5, 8, 9 (Mon 5-6
George Fox B59). In term 2 theyre in weeks 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 (Fri 2-3, George Fox
LT2). Seminars normally relate to the topic of the preceding lecture.
Course description

Web page

This module will introduce you to the study of language change. It aims to show
how language change can be investigated and explained. The focus is on the
history of English (including ongoing change), although when relevant
examples from other languages will also be used. As such, it follows on from
LING 133 Historical Background to Modern English Language, but it goes
beyond that in shedding light on developments in English from the point of view
of what we know about language change in general.

A LING 213 www page will be set up (with downloadable handouts, seminar
exercises, etc.). Youll be able to access it through a link on my personal www
Week-by-week outline, lecturer, compulsory reading

Aims and objectives

Students will:


What is language change? WBH (Smith 1996:Chs.1,3)

Lexical and semantic change WBH (Smith 1996:Ch.6)
Towards an evolutionary approach: Kellers invisible hand theory WBH
(Keller 1989)
The regularity of sound change WBH (Smith 1996:Ch.5)



11 OCTOBER 2006

Croft, William. 2000. Explaining language change. An evolutionary approach.

Harlow: Longman. [quite advanced and dense, but intellectually very
stimulating a cutting edge theory of change]
Harris, Alice C. & Lyle Campbell. 1995. Historical syntax in cross-linguistic
perspective. Cambridge: CUP.
Hopper, Paul J. & Elizabeth Closs Traugott. 1993. Grammaticalization.
Cambridge: CUP.
Keller, Rudi. 1989. Invisible-hand theory and language evolution. Lingua 77:113127.
Keller, Rudi. 1994. On language change. The invisible hand in language. London:
Routledge. [more comprehensive than Keller 1989; a very interesting idea,
which has been developed much further by Croft 2000]
Labov, William. 1994. Principles of linguistic change. 2 vols. Oxford: Blackwell.
[Labovs magnum opus on sociohistorical linguistics; very comprehensive]
Lass, Roger. 1997. Historical linguistics and language change. Cambridge: CUP.
[an excellent book on many aspects of language change; Lass has an
almost unparalleled overview of the field of historical linguistics and its
McMahon, April M.S. 1994. Understanding language change. Cambridge: CUP.
Sweetser, Eve E. 1990. From etymology to pragmatics. Metaphorical and cultural
aspects of semantic structure. Cambridge: CUP. [a pioneering work in the
search for regularity in semantic change, written from a cognitive linguistic
Thomason, Sarah Grey & Terrence Kaufman. 1988. Language contact,
creolization and genetic linguistics. Berkeley: University of California
Press. [a classical reference on an interesting topic, which we can
unfortunately only touch on briefly in the course]
Trask, R.L. 1996. Historical linguistics. London: Arnold. . [A good, readable
introduction with examples from many languages.]
Trask, R.L. 2000. The dictionary of historical and comparative linguistics.
Edinburgh: EUP. [very useful for any student of language change; Trasks
more general (1993) Dictionary of granmmatical terms in linguistics is
also good]
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Richard B. Dasher. 2002. Regularity in semantic
change. Cambidge: CUP.

Pioneers in sociohistorical linguistics - Labov, Trudgill, Milroy & Milroy

WBH (Trask 1996:Ch.10)
The irregularity of morphological change WBH (Trask 1996:Ch.5)
The history of modal verbs: a case study in grammaticalisation WBH
(Trask 1996:156-158)
Towards a synthesis of functional explanations: Crofts evolutionary
model WBH (tba)
Grammaticalisation AS (tba)
Frequency and language change SH (tba)
Changes in grammatical relations AS (tba)
Word order change in clauses - diachronic typology in action 1 AS (tba)
Word order change in phrases - diachronic typology in action 2 AS (tba)
Pragmatic factors in language change SH (tba)
Discourse markers SH (tba)
Accommodation theory and language change SH (tba)
Historical sociolinguistics: The development of social deictics SH (tba)
Pidgins and creoles: Extreme language contact and language change SH

Assignment (Term 1, 10%), essay (Term 2, 30%), exam (Term 2, 60%); or
dissertation (100%).
Select bibliography
On language change in general:
Aitchison, Jean. 1991. Language change: Progress or decay? 2nd edn. Cambridge:
CUP. [3rd edn. (2001) also available in the library]
Allen, Cynthia. 1995.
Campbell, Lyle. 2004. Historical linguistics. An introduction. Edinburgh: EUP. [A
good, readable introduction with examples from many languages.]

On the history of English:



11 OCTOBER 2006

etymologies, historical examples, etc. A copy of the (massive) printed

version is in the library; the Dept has the CR-ROM version, but access
isnt always straightforward.]
Pyles, T. & J. Algeo. 1993. The origins and development of the English language.
4th edn. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
Samuels, M.L. 1972. Linguistic evolution, with special reference to English.
Cambridge: CUP. [still a classic and well worth a look]
Smith, Jeremy. 1996. An historical study of English. London: Routledge. [a
successful combination of a description of the history of the language and
general theories of change]
Smith, Jeremy. 1999. Essentials of early English. London: Routledge. [a bit dry
but good as a basic overview of the main changes from Old English to
early Modern English]
Strang, Barbara. 1970. A history of English. London: Methuen. [still a good
combination of readability and solid scholarship]
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 1972. A history of English syntax. New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston.
Watts, R. and Trudgill, P. 2002. Alternative histories of English. London and New
York: Routledge.

Barber, C. 1993. The English language: a historical introduction. Cambridge:

Bauer, Laurie. 1994. Watching English change. London: Longman.
Baugh, A. & T. Cable. 1993. A history of the English language. 4th edn. London:
Routledge. [5th edn. (2002) also available in the library]
Beal, Joan C. 2004. English in modern times. London: Arnold. [focuses on change
in Modern English, up until 1945. Emphasis on sociolinguistic factors.]
Blake, Norman F. 1996. A history of the English language. London: Macmillan.
Crystal, David. 1995. Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language.
Cambridge: CUP. [not specifically historical but has quite a lot of
information on the past]
Crystal, David. 2004. The stories of English. London: Penguin.
Culpeper, Jonathan. 1997. History of English. London: Routledge.
Denison, David. 1993. English historical syntax. Harlow: Longman. [excellent
overview of scholarship on grammatical change in English; useful
questions at the end of each chapter]
Fennell, Barbara A. 2001. A history of English. A sociolinguistic approach.
Oxford: Blackwell.
Freeborn, Dennis. 1992. From Old English to standard English. Basingstoke:
Macmillan. [a substantially revised 2nd edn. (1998) is available from
Waterstones though not yet in the library]
Grlach, M. 1994. The linguistic history of English. Macmillan.
Hogg, R.M. (general ed.) 1992. The Cambridge history of the English language. 6
vols. Cambridge: CUP. [rather advanced and the most comprehensive
overview available]
Hogg, Richard. 2002. An introduction to Old English. Edinburgh: EUP. [a concise
but solid introduction to OE]
Horobin, Simon & Jeremy Smith. 2002. An introduction to Middle English.
Edinburgh: EUP. [a concise but solid introduction to ME]
Jucker, A.H. (ed.) 1995. Historical pragmatics. Pragmatic developments in the
history of English. (Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 35).
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Nevalainen, T. and Raumolin-Brunberg, H. 2003. Historical sociolinguistics.
Cambridge: CUP. [has implications for historical sociolx in general but
focuses on English]
Oxford dictionary of Word histories. 2002. Oxford: OUP. [a good etymological
Oxford English Dictionary. 1989 . Prepared by J.A. Simpson & E.S.C. Weiner.
Oxford: Clarendon Press. [Has a lot of historical information:

On present-day English (useful for studying ongoing change!):

Biber, D., S. Johannson, G. Leech, S. Conrad & E. Finegan. 1999. Longman
grammar of spoken and written English. New York: Longman.
Dixon, R.M.W. 1991. A new approach to English syntax, on semantic principles.
Oxford: Clarendon.
Freeborn, Dennis. 1995. A course book in English grammar. 2nd edn. Macmillan.
Givn, T. 1993. English grammar: a function-based introduction, 2 vols.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Greenbaum, S. & R. Quirk. 1990. A students grammar of the English language.
London: Longman.
Huddleston, Rodney R. & Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of
the English language. Cambridge: CUP.
Milroy, J. & L. Milroy 1993. Real English: the grammar of English dialects in the
British Isles. London: Longman.
Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech & J. Svartvik. 1985. A comprehensive
grammar of the English language. London: Longman.
Trudgill, Peter & J.K. Chambers. 1991. Dialects of English: studies in
grammatical variation. London: Longman.