The issue of permanence and change of word-order patterns has long been debated in both historical linguistics and structural theories. The interest in this theme has been revamped by contemporary research in typology with its emphasis on correlation or 'harmonies' of structures of word-order as explicative principles of both synchronic and diachronic processes. The aim of this book is to stimulate a critical reconsideration of perspectives and methods in the study of continuities and discontinuities of word-order patterns. Bringing together contributions by specialists of various theoretical backgrounds and with expertise in different language families or groups (Caucasian, Hamito-Semitic, and - among Indo-European - Hittite, Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Slavonic, Romance), the book addresses issues like the notions of stability, variation and change of word-order and their interrelations, the interplay of syntactic and pragmatic factors, and the role of internal and external factors in synchronic and diachronic dynamics of word-order. The book contains a selection of papers presented at a workshop held at the XIII International Conference on Historical Linguistics (D|sseldorf, August 1997) and additonal invited contributions.