This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."
The Development of Language: Acquisition, Change And Evolution
Blackwell/Maryland Lectures in Language and Cognit
How and why do languages change over time? Could the way an individual child develops affect aggregate language change? What do the mechanisms of change tell us about the evolution of language in our species? To answer these questions, David Lightfoot looks closely at young children. A child develops a grammar on exposure to some triggering experience. A small perturbation in the trigger may entail a different grammar in the next population of speakers, with dramatic effects.