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Title: Perspectives on Variation
Subtitle: Sociolinguistic, Historical, Comparative
Edited By: Nicole Delbecque
Johan van der Auwera
Dirk Geeraerts
Series Title: Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs 163

The significant advances witnessed over the last years in the broad field
of linguistic variation testify to a growing convergence between
sociolinguistic approaches and the somewhat older historical and
comparative research traditions. Particularly within cognitive and
functional linguistics, the evolution towards a maximally dynamic approach
to language goes hand in hand with a renewed interest in corpus research
and quantitative methods of analysis. Many researchers feel that only in
this way one can do justice to the complex interaction of forces and
factors involved in linguistic variability, both synchronically and
diachronically. The contributions to the present volume illustrate the
ongoing evolution of the field. By bringing together a series of analyses
that rely on extensive corpuses to shed light on sociolinguistic,
historical, and comparative forms of variation, the volume highlights the
interaction between these subfields.

Most of the contributions go back to talks presented at the meeting of the
Societas Linguistica Europaea held in Leuven in 2001. The volume starts
with a global typological view on the sociolinguistic landscape of Europe
offered by Peter Auer. It is followed by a methodological proposal for
measuring phonetic similarity between dialects designed by Paul Heggarty,
April McMahon, and Robert McMahon. Various papers deal with specific
phenomena of socially and conceptually driven variation within a single
language. For Dutch, José Tummers, Dirk Speelman, and Dirk Geeraerts
analyze inflectional variation in Belgian and Netherlandic Dutch, Reinhild
Vandekerckhove focuses on interdialectal convergence between West-Flemish
urban dialects, and Arjan van Leuvensteijn studies competing forms of
address in the 17th century Dutch standard variety. The cultural and
conceptual dimension is also present in the diachronic lexicosemantic
explorations presented by Heli Tissari, Clara Molina, and Caroline Gevaert
for English expressions referring to the experiential domains of love,
sorrow and anger, respectively: the history of words is systematically
linked up with the images they convey and the evolving conceptualizations
they reveal. The papers by Heide Wegener and by Marcin Kilarski and
Grzegorz Krynicki constitute a plea against arbitrariness of alternations
at the level of nominal morphology: dealing with marked plural forms in
German, and with gender assignment to English loanwords in the Scandinavian
languages, respectively, their distributional accounts bring into the
picture a variety of motivating factors. The four cross-linguistic studies
that close the volume focus on the differing ways in which even closely
related languages exploit parallel morphosyntactic patterns. They share the
same methodological concern for combining rigorous parametrization and
quantification with conceptual and discourse-functional explanations. While
Griet Beheydt and Katleen Van den Steen confront the use of formally
defined competing constructions in two Germanic and two Romance languages,
respectively, Torsten Leuschner as well as Gisela Harras and Kirsten Proost
analyze how a particular speaker's attitude is expressed differently in
various Germanic languages.


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Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Dutch
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 311018284X
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: vi, 345 pages
Prices: Europe EURO 118.00