Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

By Ingrid Piller

Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice "prompts thinking about linguistic disadvantage as a form of structural disadvantage that needs to be recognized and taken seriously."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

By Rudolf Botha

Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"

Book Information

Sun Image

Title: Explaining Language Change
Written By: William Croft

Ever since the origins of both linguistics and evolutionary biology in the 19th century, scholars have noted the similarity between biological evolution and language change. Yet until recently neither linguists nor biologists have developed a model of evolution general enough to apply across the two fields. Even in linguistics, the field is split between the historical linguists who study change in language structure, and the sociolinguists who study social variation in the speech community. "Explaining language change" represents the first thoroughly worked out framework for language evolution, building on the pioneering ideas of Richard Dawkins and David Hull in biology and philosophy of science. Its central thesis is that the locus of language change is the utterance in social intercourse. Linguistic innovations emerge from the remarkable complexity of communication in social interaction. Once innovations occur, they are propagated through the equally complex social structures of the speech communities we participate in. "Explaining language change" provides a framework for assessing current theories of language change, and advances new ideas about grammatical reanalysis, conventional and nonconventional use of language, the structure of speech communities, language mixing, and the notion of "progress" in language change. "Explaining language change" reintegrates sociolinguistics and historical linguistics, weaving together research on grammatical change, pragmatics, social variation, language contact and genetic linguistics.

Publication Year: 2001
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0582356776
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 287
Prices: US$22, UK 19.99