Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship: An Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics

Front Cover
Why does language change? Why can we speak to and understand our parents but have trouble reading Shakespeare? Why is Chaucer's English of the fourteenth century so different from Modern English of the late twentieth century that the two are essentially different languages? Why are Americans and English 'one people divided by a common language'? And how can the language of Chaucer and Modern English - or Modern British and American English - still be called the same language? The present book provides answers to questions like these in a straightforward way, aimed at the non-specialist, with ample illustrations from both familiar and more exotic languages.

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About the author (1996)

Brian D. Joseph is Professor of Linguistics and Kenneth E. Naylor Professor of South Slavic Linguistics at The Ohio State University. Within historical linguistics, his research focuses mainly on Indo-European languages. He has written and edited numerous books - including "Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship" (with Hans H. Hock, 1996) and "The Synchrony and Diachrony of the Balkan Infinitive" (1983) - and has published over 160 articles. He became editor of the journal "Language" in 2002.

Richard D. Janda is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator for Undergraduate Education in the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University. A specialist in both Germanic and Romance linguistics, he has written widely not only on diachronic but also on synchronic issues in phonology, morphology, and morphosyntax, as well as on historical linguistics in general. His more than 70 publications focus on drawing broader implications from the application of theory to specific problems of structure, function, variation, and change in individual languages.

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