LINGUIST List 12.607

Mon Mar 5 2001

Support: History of Ling: PhD - Sheffield U/ UK

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. A.R.Linn, History of Linguistics - PhD/ U of Sheffield, UK

Message 1: History of Linguistics - PhD/ U of Sheffield, UK

Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 15:43:21 -0000
From: A.R.Linn <>
Subject: History of Linguistics - PhD/ U of Sheffield, UK

The Study of Sound Change 1870-1970

A fully funded, three-year PhD studentship is 
available in the Department of English Language 
and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield 
from the summer of 2001. The studentship will 
cover all fees and provide a maintenance grant 
in line with national Research Council grants 
(currently �6800 per annum).

The Project
Linguistics in the nineteenth century focused on 
language change and, as the century progressed, 
predominantly on sound change. The received view 
is that sound change then became marginalised by 
the twentieth-century emphasis on synchronic 
linguistics. This is partly true, and historical 
phonology has been much ignored by twentieth-
century phonologists, some explicitly denying it 
a place in modern phonology. It is partly untrue 
as there has been a productive tradition of 
historical phonology building on the theories of 
the so-called 'Neogrammarians', and in fact the 
linguistic 'rules' formalised by the Generative 
phonologists of the 1960s were clearly analogous 
to the sound 'laws' stated a century before.

The objectives of the project are as follows:
1	to chart the history of the study of sound 
change from the 'Neogrammarians' at the outset 
of the 20th century up to the work of the 
'Generativists' who dominated the century's 
final decades
2	to assess whether the received view of the 
development of linguistic theory is a fair one, 
based on a specific linguistic topic
3	to explain why and how sound change has 
become marginal when a century ago it was 
probably the central concern of linguistics

Arrangements for supervision
The successful candidate will be a member of the 
Department of English Language and Linguistics 
which forms part of the School of English. The 
department has recently undergone a period of 
development, broadening from a focus primarily 
on the English language and its history to 
include linguistics in both teaching and 
research, and this project is designed to 
reflect the two sides to the department, the 
historical and the linguistic. The successful 
candidate will be well supported by academic 
staff and other postgraduate students alike. The 
project will be jointly supervised by Dr Andrew 
Linn and Prof. April McMahon. More information 
about the department may be found at: .

Applications are sought from candidates with a 
linguistics background at undergraduate or 
master's level. Knowledge of historical 
linguistics, phonology and the history of 
linguistics is desirable, but in-depth knowledge 
of all three areas is not compulsory, and any 
necessary training will be provided. The precise 
period studied and the approach taken to the 
investigation is negotiable depending on the 
successful candidate's particular interests and 
capabilities. To discuss the project informally, 
please contact: 
Andrew Linn (+ 44 (0)114 222 0216 - 
or April McMahon (+44 (0)114 222 0238 - 
Applications should be submitted by Friday 6 
April. An application form may be found at: .

Dr Andrew R. Linn
Department of English Language and Linguistics
The University of Sheffield
GB-Sheffield S10 2TN, England

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0216
Fax: +44 (0)114 276 8251
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