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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

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New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Book Information


Title: The Rise of Agreement
Subtitle: A formal approach to the syntax and grammaticalization of verbal inflection
Written By: Eric Fuß
URL: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=LA%2081
Series Title: Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 81

This book investigates the historical paths leading from pronouns to
markers of verbal agreement and proposes a unified formal account of this
grammaticalization process. In opposition to beliefs widely held in the
literature, it is argued that new agreement formatives can be coined in a
multitude of syntactic environments. Still, the individual paths toward
agreement are shown to exhibit a set of underlying similarities which are
attributed to universal principles that govern the reanalysis of pronominal
clitics as exponents of verbal agreement across languages. It is claimed
that syntactic principles impose only a set of necessary conditions on the
reanalysis in question, while its ultimate trigger is morphological in
nature. More specifically, it is argued that the acquisition of
inflectional morphology is governed by blocking effects which operate
during language acquisition and promote the grammaticalization of new
markers if this change serves to replace 'worn-out', underspecified forms
with new, more specified candidates.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ix–x
Notes for the reader and list of abbreviations xi
Introduction 1–21
Theoretical preliminaries 23–53
The structural design of agreement 55–128
The transition from pronoun to inflectional marker 129–155
The reanalysis of C-oriented clitics 157–228
Morphological blocking and the rise of agreement 229–297
Concluding summary 299–304
References 305–324
Index 325–335

"This is the first empirically detailed, theoretically informed study of
the historical development of agreement marking in the context of a
generative approach to syntactic change. As such it represents a major
contribution to the field, and deserves a very wide readership."
Ian Roberts, University of Cambridge

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: John Benjamins
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
Linguistic Theories
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: Hardback
ISBN: 9027228051
ISBN-13: 9789027228055
Pages: xii, 336
Prices: U.S. $ 196
Europe EURO 145.00