Morphosyntactic Change: Functional and Formal Perspectives

Paperback | December 14, 2006

byOlga Fischer

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This book presents a critical comparison of the two leading theories of linguistic change. After introducing the aims and methods of historical linguistics, Olga Fischer provides an exposition of the main theories used to describe morphosyntactic change and a full account of the causes andmechanisms by which their leading exponents seek to explain it. She measures the effectiveness of rival theories and methods in different contexts and in the process throws fresh light on the balance of factors influencing linguistic change. Professor Fischer emphazises the unity of form and meaningin the linguistic sign and examines the role played by analogy. She looks at how changes in discourse, lexicon, semantics, pragmatics, and sound interact with changes in morphosyntax, and explores the relationship between external and internal causes of change. She considers whether morphosyntacticchange is gradual or abrupt and discusses how far rates of change reflect the degree to which grammar is innate or learned. She uses detailed case studies to illustrate different types of morphosyntactic change, and to show how each theory fares when put into practice. The author's clear style and her balanced approach to this fascinating and complex subject combine to make this a book that will be of central interest and value to scholars and students of linguistic change, at graduate level and above.

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This book presents a critical comparison of the two leading theories of linguistic change. After introducing the aims and methods of historical linguistics, Olga Fischer provides an exposition of the main theories used to describe morphosyntactic change and a full account of the causes andmechanisms by which their leading exponents se...

Olga Fischer is Professor of Germanic Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam, where her PhD thesis Syntactic Change and Causation: Developments in Infinitival Constructions in English was accepted in 1990. She is a contributor to the Cambridge History of the English Language (CUP 1992), co-author of The Syntax of Early English (CU...

other books by Olga Fischer

The Syntax Of Early English
The Syntax Of Early English

Hardcover|Jan 8 2001

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.79 inPublished:December 14, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199267057

ISBN - 13:9780199267057

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Table of Contents

Part I General Issues in Morphosyntactic Change1. What is 'Good Practice' in Historical Linguistics: Aims and Methods2. Conflict and Reconciliation: Two Theories Compared3. Principles, Mechanisms, and Causes of ChangePart II Case Studies4. A Paradigm Case: The Story of the Modals (and other auxiliaries)5. From Discourse to (morpho)syntax and Vice Versa: The Case of Clause-fusion6. Subjectification, Scope, and Word Order7. Towards a Usage-based Theory of Morphosyntactic Change: Summary and ConclusionsReferencesIndex