This classroom-tested volume aspires to be a brief but technically and factually accurate exposition of linguistic description and history. Whether studied as prime subject or as background information, it should help students understand the assumptions and reasoning that underlie the contents of their handbooks and etymological dictionaries.
This book should be a useful guide for anyone unfamiliar with (historical) linguistics who is studying the history of a language, and also for those who are enrolled in courses devoted to reading texts in old languages.
1. Changes in Pronunciation: Assimilation; Dissimilation; Addition of segments; Loss of segments; Metathesis; Other interactions between segments; Changes in manner of articulation.
2. Sound Laws: Merger; Primary split (conditioned merger); Secondary split (phonolo-gization); Sound laws; Efficient causes of sound change; Patternless changes.
3. Analogy: Leveling analogy; Recomposition; Contamination; Portmanteau words; Folk etymology; Morphological analogy; Hypercorrection.
4. Semantic Change: Changes in the number of features; Pejoration and melioration; Foregrounding of connotations; Figurative meanings (metaphor, metonymy); Changes resulting from changes in the structure of language, reinterpretation of ambiguities, and changes in the physical or social environment; Calques; The etymological fallacy.
5. Reconstruction: The comparative method; Reconstruction of features of morphology, semantics, and syntax; Internal reconstruction; The relationship between phonological restructuring and internal reconstruction.
6. External Aspects of Language: Language and dialect; Differentiation of languages; Languages in contact.
7. Written Records: The interpretation of written records; Transliteration; Borrowing; Multiple values of symbols; Chronology; Borrowing symbols; Comparative evidence; Typology, parallelism; Statements by contemporaneous authorities; Poetry.
Appendix: Phonetics the mechanisms of speech and the classifications of speech sounds.
Glossary; Glossary of Terms in German