Great strides have been made in recent years in our understanding of the
relationship between language and society when we introduce a consideration
of its historical dimension. "The Handbook of Historical Sociolinguistics"
reflects our current state of knowledge in this rapidly expanding
interdisciplinary field of study. The collection represents an up-to-date,
in-depth exploration of the extent to which sociolinguistic theoretical
models, methods, findings, and expertise can be applied to the process of
reconstructing a language's past in order to account for diachronic
linguistic changes and developments. Organized into five distinct
sections, essays address various topics in origins and theoretical
assumptions; methods for the sociolinguistic study of the history of
languages; linguistic and extra-linguistic variables; historical
dialectology, language contact and diffusion; and attitudes to language.
Written by an international team of leading scholars, this groundbreaking
collection of readings provides an important contribution to linguistic
theory that reflects current knowledge of the nature of language change and
diffusion while paving the way for future research.