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LINGUIST List 22.4876

Tue Dec 06 2011

Books: Historical Linguistics: Hammarström

Editor for this issue: Danniella Hornby <daniellalinguistlist.org>


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        1.     Ulrich Lueders , Fundamentals of Diachronic Linguistics: Hammarström


Message 1: Fundamentals of Diachronic Linguistics: Hammarström
Date: 05-Dec-2011
From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de>
Subject: Fundamentals of Diachronic Linguistics: Hammarström
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Title: Fundamentals of Diachronic Linguistics
Series Title: Linguistics Edition 84
Published: 2011
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
                http://www.lincom.eu

Author: Göran Hammarström
Paperback: ISBN: 9783862882359 Pages: 73 Price: Europe EURO 46.80
Abstract:

The author advocates a basically new approach to language change.

A change begins when a speaker says something new choosing between
several possibilities following nothing more complicated than the principle
variatio delectat. If other speakers like the new sound or expression, it may
become a language innovation. Since it is first used by a group of speakers,
it has distinct sociolectal value.

In order to communicate messages the old and the new sound or expression
function equally well. Traditionally linguists have generally tried to find some
weak point which is the cause of the language change. They have tried to
find causal explanations where there are none.

Language is a branch of human culture. Its changes can no more be
explained than changes in literature, music, visual arts or the length of
women's skirts. The innovator may choose the new sound or expression
because of similarity with some existing feature of the language. The author
calls this assumed process a prompt, which is similar to a cause but is not
one.

The notions of information value and redundancy, borrowed from information
theory, can elucidate some aspects of language change.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:
http://linguistlist.org/pubs/books/get-book.cfm?BookID=58499



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