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

New from Oxford University Press!


Cognitive Literary Science

Edited by Michael Burke and Emily T. Troscianko

Cognitive Literary Science "Brings together researchers in cognitive-scientific fields and with literary backgrounds for a comprehensive look at cognition and literature."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."

Review of  Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics

Reviewer: Malcolm D. Ross
Book Title: Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
Book Author: Silvia Luraghi Vit Luraghi
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Issue Number: 22.3338

Discuss this Review
Help on Posting
EDITORS: Luraghi, Silvia and Bubenik, Vit
TITLE: The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
SERIES TITLE: Continuum Companions
PUBLISHER: Continuum
YEAR: 2010

Malcolm Ross, Department of Linguistics, School of Culture, History and
Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, and Department of
Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.


The body of the book is an editors' introduction and the twenty chapters
enumerated below, organized into six parts: methodology, phonological change,
morphological and grammatical change, syntactic change, semantico-pragmatic
change and explanations of language change. Following the last chapter are a 13-
page glossary of terms (as used and defined by the contributors), the references,
and indexes of subjects, authors and languages.

Preceding Part 1 are the Introduction and Ch 1. In their introduction Luraghi and
Bubenik justify the publication of yet another handbook on historical linguistics on
the grounds that the field of historical linguistics is ''so wide and challenging that it
can hardly be exhausted'' (p.xiii) and there are always new perspectives and new
approaches to be presented. The remainder of the introduction summarizes the
contributions to the book.

Ch 1., ''Historical linguistics: History, sources and resources,'' by the editors, has
four sections: a history of research in historical linguistics, a discussion of the
problems of using older written texts as sources, a survey of writing systems, and
a list of available text corpora.

Part 1, ''Methodology,'' contains Chs. 2-5.

In Ch. 2, ''Sound change and the comparative method: The science of historical
reconstruction,'' John Hewson first explains why the comparative method works --
because of the regularity of sound change -- then illustrates the method by briefly
summarising the history of Algonquian studies. This leads into an account first of
Bloomfield's Algonquian reconstruction, then of Hockett's and Haas' extensions to
Bloomfield's work, and finally of Hewson's own computer-aided reconstruction. The
chapter concludes with a more general explanation of how computer-aided
reconstruction can aid reconstructions based on low-order groups.

Brian Joseph's short contribution on ''Internal reconstruction'' (Ch. 3) explains what
this procedure is and how it is integrated with the comparative method. The
examples are drawn from Indo-European (IE) languages, with a final example of
internal reconstruction applied to reconstructed Proto-IE.

Hans Henrich Hock's Ch. 4 on ''Typology and universals'' reaches the interesting
conclusion that typological change is largely caused by contact and that typology
otherwise has little effect on language change. Reconstructed languages need to
be typologically plausible, but this is not a strong constraint, as many typological
universals are tendencies, not absolutes. In this light, Hock briefly reviews the
glottalic theory of Proto-IE phonological reconstruction and relative-clause-based
arguments about the reconstruction of Proto-IE morphosyntax, pointing out that
both entailed the false assumption that a certain universal was absolute. Hock
also looks briefly at the typology of change itself, concluding that there are very
few diachronic universals that have proven fruitful. Two which have are the
Transparency Principle in morphology and the principle underlying
grammaticalization whereby a free morpheme becomes bound, but rarely vice

Ch. 5, by Søren Wichmann, is entitled ''Internal language classification'' and deals
with the subgrouping of languages within recognised families (for him a 'family' is a
grouping with no known external relatives). Although Wichmann describes and
accepts subgroupings arrived at by the comparative method and therefore based
on shared innovations, the focus of the chapter is on applications to languages of
computational phylogenetic methods that have their origins in biology. Wichmann
makes a distinction between character-based and distance-based classifications.
A character-based classification is based on the presence or absence of each of a
set of 'characters', i.e. features such as lexical items. A  distance-based
classification typically employs some measure of lexical distance between
languages. Wichmann also discusses the Automated Similarity Judgment
Program, in the development of which he has played a major role.

Part 2, ''Phonological change,'' has just two chapters. In Ch. 6, ''Segmental
phonological change,'' Joseph Salmons gives an overview of types of segmental
phonological change, paying considerable attention to their causes, as he regards
models of change based on ease of articulation as simplistic. He points out that
rigorous study of articulation indicates that the causes of segmental change can
be quite complex and that historical phonologists still have much to learn. He also
draws the reader's attention to the fact that segmental changes are often related to
the position of the segment in the syllable or in a higher prosodic unit. In the
process he introduces the reader to phonological change as it is understood by
generative phonologists and by practitioners of phonetically based phonology like
John Ohala and Juliette Blevins. Hock's short chapter (Ch. 7) on ''Suprasegmental
and prosodic historical phonology'' examines tonogenesis, tonal change, and pitch
accent shift and their causes.

Part 3, ''Morphological and grammatical change,'' contains Chs. 8-10.

Andersen's Ch. 8, ''From morphologization to demorphologization,'' offers a
comprehensive framework for categorising morphological changes. After a
theoretical introduction come three sections, on morphologization, change in
inflectional morphology, and demorphologization respectively. Under
morphologization Andersen includes not only grammaticalization (of words to
clitics and clitics to affixes) but also the reanalysis of phonological features or
segments as morphemes. The second section deals mainly with the elaboration
and simplification of affixal paradigms. Demorphologization is a mixed bag: the
emancipation of bound morphemes as less bound, loss of morphological function
through reanalysis and loss of affixes.

Livio Gaeta (Ch. 9) provides a brief introduction to ''Analogical change,'' defining
analogy as a four-part proportion and illustrating subtypes of analogical change
with plentiful IE examples. He goes on to discuss possible 'laws' of analogy,
proposing that various forms of constructional iconicity underlie analogical change.
Narrowing the focus to morphological paradigms, he claims that paradigms are
regularized on the basis of extra-morphological properties, e.g. German ''braucht,''
'need.PRES.3SG,' has become ''brauch'' in some forms of colloquial German by
virtue of the verb's recruitment into the modal category because other modals lack
the -t 'PRES.3SG' suffix that is otherwise common to verbs in German. Hence,
Gaeta says, analogy is a force for emergent systemic regularity. The discussion
concludes with a discussion of the relationship between 'analogy', operating
locally, and 'rules,' operating across a system.

In ''Change in grammatical categories'' (Ch. 10), the longest chapter in the book,
Vit Bubenik presents a reconstruction of the nominal and verbal morphology of
Proto-Semitic, based on a range of Semitic languages, ancient and modern. They
include Akkadian (NE Semitic), Aramaic, Ugaritic, Hebrew and Arabic (all NW) and
Ge'ez (S), along with references to external witnesses in other Afro-Asiatic groups
(Cushitic, Egyptian, Berber, Chadic). His reconstruction of nominal morphology
culminates in an excursion into the Proto-Afro-Asiatic alignment system and
concludes that the hypothesis that Proto-Afro-Asiatic was ergative may well be
correct. He ends his reconstruction of Semitic verbal morphology with the
observation that the latter can only be reconstructed effectively if one takes
account of the whole system of verbal morphology, as one category has
sometimes been remodelled on the basis of another and grammaticalization has
introduced new forms into the system.

Part 4, ''Syntactic change,'' contains Chs. 11-14.

Ch. 11 is entitled ''Word order'', but Jan Terje Faarlund writes about change in the
order of the constituents of the clause in Germanic languages, with some
discussion of constituent order change more generally. For example, Faarlund
observes that constituent order change is typically from freer to less free (as the
result of rule loss) and from SVO to SOV. Exceptions to the latter generalization
appear always to be due to contact-induced change.

In Ch. 12, ''The rise (and possible downfall) of configurationally,'' Silvia Luraghi
describes increasing configurationality in IE languages. As she points out, the
facts are well known but the processes of change are not. She begins with the
premise that there are two kinds of non-configurational languages: head-marking
and dependent-marking. In head-marking languages the relationship between a
noun phrase and a verb is indicated by verbal morphology (she illustrates this from
modern spoken French), whereas in dependent-marking languages, verbs are
essentially intransitive and have no (syntactic) argument structure. Instead, the
relationship between noun phrases and the verb is purely semantic, there is no
difference between arguments and adjuncts, and case-marking encodes semantic,
not syntactic, relationships. Because of case-marking and the looseness of
semantic relationships, dependent-marking non-configurational languages (like
early IE) also allow discontinuous noun phrases (but head-marking languages do
not). Luraghi's thesis is that in IE languages the frequent collocation of
semantically associated items has led to their grammaticalization as syntactic
constructions (and this led to loss of case-marking, not vice versa).
Grammaticalization turned adverbial particles into adpositions, discontinuous noun
phrases into continuous, and non-subject noun phrases into syntactic arguments.

Ch. 13, on ''Subordination'' describes the development of subordinate clauses in
ancient IE languages. The first half of the chapter, by Dorothy Disterheft, is a
stage-by-stage presentation of the growth of non-finite subordination, i.e. infinitive
verb forms, from case-marked nominalizations, showing how these forms acquired
increasingly verbal features. The second half, by Carlotta Viti, deals with finite
subordination and shows how subordinate clauses have developed from
independent clauses used in paratactic constructions.

In Ch. 14, ''Alignment,'' Geoffrey Haig first defines varieties of alignment, i.e.
accusative, ergative, split-S and fluid-S, then describes in some detail one case of
alignment change, namely from accusative to ergative in West Iranian, and
discusses the mechanisms by which this change has occurred. The chapter ends
with a section on ''General principles of alignment change.'

Chapters 15–17, on ''Grammaticalization,'' ''Semantic change'', and ''Etymology,''
respectively, make up Part 5, entitled ''Semantico-Pragmatic change.''

Chapter 15 examines ''Grammaticalization'' from two perspectives. Under the first,
''Grammaticalization as reduction,'' Elizabeth Closs Traugott summarizes the more
conventional view of grammaticalization, whereby words become bound
morphemes and change is generally unidirectional. Under the second,
''Grammaticalization as expansion,'' she summarizes the view which emphasizes
the functional expansion of an item that has undergone grammaticalization: the
item occurs with a larger host class and in a wider range of syntactic contexts with
a wider range of uses. The chapter finishes with some 'Current issues', namely the
relevance of Construction Grammar to the analysis of grammaticalization,
motivations for the onset of grammaticalization, the relationship between
reanalysis and grammaticalization, and grammaticalization in contact situations.

In Ch. 16 Eugenio R. Luján provides an overview of ''Semantic change.'' He begins
with basic points: the arbitrariness of the sign, the relationship of meaning to
culture, differences in languages' organization of meaning, the difference between
core and peripheral meaning, and the distinction between semiasiological and
onomasiological studies of meaning change, i.e. study of changing word meanings
and study of the changes in the encoding of a semantic field. He then describes
mechanisms of semantic change, particularly metaphor and metonymy, changes
in meaning scope (broadening and narrowing) and in connotation (pejoration and
melioration), changes in the meaning of syntagms (e.g. French negation) and what
he terms 'paradigmatic changes' -- changes due to homonymy and synonymy.
From here Luján moves on to extra-linguistic causes of semantic change and
contact-induced change. The chapter ends with a discussion of generalizations
about semantic change that have emerged in the last three decades.

Thomas Krisch's short chapter (Ch. 17) on ''Etymology'' introduces the reader to its
subject by way of Socrates' three etymologies of 'Poseidon' and then explains how
modern approaches to etymology differ from Socrates.' A comparison of the
etymologies of Greek ''these'' and Latin ''deus,'' both 'god', shows that words of the
same meaning with similar forms are not necessarily cognate and introduces the
reader to the application of the comparative method in etymologising. The last
section defines etymology and gives brief etymologies for several English words.

The sixth and last part of the volume is entitled ''Explanations of language change''
and has three chapters.

The first of these is a chapter (18) by Bridget Drinka on ''Language contact.'' She
begins with a short history of the study of language contact. This is followed by
sections on areal linguistics, pidgins and creoles, the effects of contact and
theoretical issues. The pidgins and creoles section looks at the development of
key concepts in the field, emphasising that the issues are not as simple as is
sometimes assumed. The section on the effects of contact deals with calquing,
metatypy and grammaticalization, and the theoretical issues section looks at the
role of speakers in contact-induced change and at typological change resulting
from contact.

J.K. Chambers' Ch. 19 on ''Regional and social dialectology'' explains the
differences between these two branches of dialectology. Regional dialectology has
since the mid-19th century collected data from non-mobile, older rural males with
the intention of recording the oldest forms still known by speakers and their exact
geographic distribution. Social dialectology is modelled on sociology and has its
origins in Labov's work in the 1960s, focussed on the linguistic manifestations of
the variables of age, sex, class and other social attributes in a specific
community. Both have the intention of studying language change: regional
dialectology by collecting data from the oldest and presumably most conservative
speakers, social dialectology -- alias variationist sociolinguistics -- by identifying
variation within the community, and particularly differences across age groups.
The latter is based on the apparent-time hypothesis, whereby certain kinds of
change are unlikely to occur in adulthood and age-based differences are assumed
to reflect ongoing change. Chambers endorses the hypothesis but points out that
there are also other possible explanations for age-based differences.

The final chapter (Ch. 20) is Silvia Luraghi's ''Causes of language change,'' which
brings together strands from various chapters in the book. A major theme of this
chapter is that there are significant difficulties with the idea that language change
is due to imperfect transmission during infant acquisition. At the same time,
however, Luraghi sees problems with theories of adult language change. She is
also critical of teleological explanations of change. She suggests that no line
should be drawn between contact-induced change and other changes, since
''mutual accommodation of speakers and hearers is the ultimate cause of change.''


Although the term ''companion'' in the title of the book is determined by the fact
that it belongs to a succession of ''Continuum Companions'' to various
subdisciplines in the humanities, including linguistics (most of the latter still
forthcoming), it is worth asking oneself what one expects of a ''companion.'' My
answer is that a companion is a book that provides an overview of a subdiscipline:
it is not an introductory textbook, but is aimed at practitioners of the discipline who
would like to know what is currently happening in the various areas of (in this
instance) historical linguistics. Curiously, the authors don't tackle the issue of
audience in their introduction, and this, if anything, undersells their book. As a
practising historical linguist I found much of the book fascinating reading, as it
took me into methods and geographic regions of historical linguistics which I am
less familiar with, and many of the chapters provided me with a pithy but
informative overview of their respective fields. If this is what a companion is
supposed to do, then this is indeed a companion to historical linguistics.

I have few complaints, and they are small. One is that certain chapters either do
not provide an overview of the field referred to in their title (Chs. 10 and 13) or are
written as if historical linguistics were the study of IE alone (Chs. 11–13). I make
no complaint about the use of IE examples per se: this is inevitable, given the
history of the field. The editors remark that they have tried to avoid an IE bias.
Chs. 2 and 10, using Algonquian and Afro-Asiatic data, respectively, do so
spectacularly, and Chs. 6, 7 and 14 also draw on various non-IE examples.
Otherwise, IE dominates -- but this is a reflection of the field. There is one notable
omission, however. Austronesian is one of the world's largest language families,
and there is now a substantial literature on its history, starting with Otto
Dempwolff's researches in the 1920s and 1930s. REFERENCES Its inclusion in
the book would also have provided a methodological contrast with IE studies, as
Austronesian historical linguistics depends largely on reconstruction from modern
field data. The omission of Austronesian stands out for me because it is one of my
research fields. It may be that scholars working on other language families will
notice what for them are also important omissions.

A couple of the titles of the six parts of the book have titles which sit a little
uncomfortably with their component chapters. ''Morphological and grammatical
change'' (Chs 8–10) left me asking what is ''grammatical'' as opposed to
morphological and syntactic change. I assume ''grammatical'' is intended to
acccommodate Bubenik's ''Change in grammatical categories'' and perhaps those
bits of Gaeta's ''Analogical change'' that are not morphological. ''Semantico-
pragmatic change'' (Chs. 15–17) sounds like a compound devised to cover a
somewhat disparate collection of chapters, but in fact the chapters are not really
disparate, as grammaticalization, semantic change, and etymology all have to do
with changes in the 'meaning' dimension of the Saussurean sign. Given the
numerous points in the volume where the subject matter of the chapters overlaps
(and it would be strange if they didn't), sometimes across the boundaries between
the parts, one wonders if the part divisions shouldn't have been omitted. And given
the points of overlap, it would have been helpful to the reader if the editors had
inserted cross-references within the chapters, but, other than in Luraghi's final
chapter, they didn't.

The book appears to have been well edited. I found just a few typos and second-
language glitches. Continuum is to be congratulated on attractive and readable
typsetting and layout.

The first section of Ch. 1 is probably the best potted (ten-page) historiography of
historical linguistics that I have read. It not only covers the ground from Sir William
Jones in 1786 to Harrison & Campbell (1995), but does so as a coherent narrative
that makes for easy and interesting reading. The second section, on the use of
older texts as sources, also seems to be a good survey of the issues, but drew
my attention (as one who works on language families with little or no textual
attestation) to one thing that is missing here, namely the methodological issues
involved in working on language families that have no textual attestation to speak
of--and these form a majority of the world's families. A curious phrase caught my
attention in this section. The writers mention (p. 18) a large literature ''on Hebrew
interference in the Old Testament.'' Since most of the Old Testament was written
in Hebrew, I don't know what is intended here. The third section, on writing
systems, is an excellent survey, but seems overly detailed for a basic overview.
The fourth section, a list of corpora, is an excellent inclusion. The editors clearly
want to position historical linguistics firmly in the electronic age, and this is one
way of doing so.

Hewson's Ch. 2, on sound change and the comparative method, is eminently
readable -- and it is refreshing to read about the application of the comparative
method to a non-IE language group, together with a historiographic perspective on
that reconstruction. Hewson's suggestions about how readers might apply
computational comparative techniques to the languages they are working on are
both comprehensible and practical (and another support for the editors' vision of
historical linguistics in the electronic age).

Joseph's and Hock's short chapters (3 and 4) on internal reconstruction and
typology, respectively, provide crystal clear explanations of their topics. Joseph
allows the reader to see vividly how internal reconstruction is related to the
comparative method. Hock's statement that typology has little effect on change
will probably surprise some readers, as one still sometimes comes across
teleological arguments in historical linguistics, but he argues his case lucidly (and I
think correctly).

Ch 5., on classification, displays Wichmann's passion for introducing scientific
rigour into historical linguistics. As a practitioner of the comparative method I have
mixed responses to this. Wichmann's account of character-based classifications
and of why family trees are imprecise and sometimes deceptive representations of
language relationships is a model of clarity, and I think many readers will find it
illuminating. However, shared innovations are the backbone of subgroups based on
the comparative method, and there is no mention of the fact that many of the
methods he mentions do not distinguish innovation from retention. Shared
retentions tell us little except that the languages concerned are in some respect(s)
conservative. One computational method which does (if I understand it correctly)
make this distinction is Bayesian inference, but this is unfortunately a somewhat
opaque patch (using terms that will be unfamiliar to many readers) in an otherwise
very clear chapter.

Joseph Salmons (Ch. 6) provides a balanced, well articulated and coherent
overview of historical phonology within the space of a few pages, with examples
ranging from the well known to the exotic. I particularly appreciated his rewording
of Blevins' theory of evolutionary phonology and his account of the life cycle of
sound change. A virtue of this chapter is that it also points to what we DON'T

Andersen's Ch. 8 on morphologization and demorphologization is a survey by an
acknowledged expert. However, in his desire to avoid the presuppositions of
specific linguistic theories Andersen adopts a Peircean framework which is rather
too complex to serve its introductory purpose and may, I feel, discourage some
readers from reaching the excellent meat of the chapter.

Short though Gaeta's Ch. 9 on analogical change is, I found it particularly
interesting, perhaps because I mostly work on languages in which analogy plays a
lesser role than in IE. I had not previously absorbed the fact that folk etymology is
founded on analogy, and I find particularly thought-provoking Bauer's suggestion,
cited by Gaeta in his conclusion, to the effect that the behaviours that linguists
describe in terms of rules may in fact refect the ongoing application of analogy.

If one is reading through the book's chapters in sequence, then Bubenik's Ch. 10
on change in grammatical categories comes as an odd man out. Whereas other
chapters have provided a topic overview, this chapter is a topic exemplification --
at least, that is what the editors write in the Introduction. The chapter jumps
straight into Afro-Asiatic morphology, and the reader must figure out alone that this
is an exemplification and what it exemplifies. I have no expertise in Afro-Asiatic
historical linguistics, but I think the chapter will perhaps be more useful (and
perhaps VERY useful) to readers interested in Afro-Asiatic historical morphology
than to a reader seeking guidance on the reorganization of grammatical categories
over time.

Faarlund's Ch. 11 gives an excellent overview of constituent order change in
Germanic languages, and, as noted above, he makes a number of pertinent
generalizations about constituent order change in general. However, some of the
issues he touches on deserve further consideration. One is the relationship
between constituent order and information structure. Another is the role of contact
in constituent order change, which gets just a single sentence (p. 206). In a
comment that is relevant to the next chapter, Faarlund remarks that Proto-IE was
an OV language but 'that does not necessarily imply that it had fixed word order': I
am not sure what this means. I assume that this chapter is entitled ''Word order'' in
keeping with typological convention, but I would have preferred ''Constituent order.'

Ch. 12, on the rise of configurationality in IE languages, is intriguing. I have a great
deal of sympathy with Luraghi's usage-based approach, and wish that it was more
widely represented in the book, and her illustration of the possible downfall of
configurationality in modern French makes fascinating reading. However, I am yet
to be convinced that early IE languages were non-configurational in the sense that
she describes. If, as she suggests, non-subject noun phrases were related only
semantically to verbs and case-marking was essentially semantic, then we would
not expect the accusative case to encode the wide range of semantic roles that it
did in Latin and Ancient Greek, whereby the specific role is determined by verbal
meaning. I am not aware of languages that are typologically similar to Luraghi's
Proto-IE, but perhaps that reflects my ignorance. What I am aware of are
(frequent) cases where it is difficult to determine whether an adjunct-like phrase is
an adjunct or an argument of the verb, but it seems to me that such cases reflect
the ongoing emergence of transitivity rather than a shift from non-configurational to

Ch. 13, on subordination, is a clear presentation of the development of infinitives
and subordinate clauses in ancient (and sometimes modern) IE languages.
Curiously, however, it seems to presuppose that ''historical linguistics'' means ''IE
historical linguistics:'' there is no reference to anything outside IE, and a more
appropriate chapter title would have been ''Subordination in Indo-European
languages.'' I find this a little surprising, as the development of subordination has
certainly been an important topic in typology, with implications for the origins of
subordination in general.

Haig's Ch. 14, on alignment change, is a model of what a chapter in a companion
should be: first an overview with definitions, then a well worked example, and
finally some concluding generalizations. It is clearly written with pointers for the
reader as to where to go for more information, and the discussion of how alignment
change has come about in West Iranian presents alternative hypotheses before
coming down in favour of one of them. The conclusion summarizes the current
state of study.

Given the huge amount that has been written about grammaticalization in recent
decades, Traugott's Ch. 15 is remarkable for its fresh perspectives. Traugott
assumes, I think (and rightly so), that her readers will know broadly what
grammaticalization is, and plunges into two contrasting approaches to it, the
'reduction' approach, which emphasizes phonological reduction, increased
bondedness and unidirectionality of change, and the 'expansion' approach which
focusses on the functional extension of an item under grammaticalization. Her
examination of the relationship between grammaticalization and Construction
Grammar is apparently the only mention  in the volume of the latter's relevance to
historical morphosyntax. Inevitably, other chapters in the volume overlap with this
one: Andersen's on morphological change and Gaeta's on analogy. If I have a
criticism, it is that examples are rather sparse.

Luján's chapter (16) on semantic change provides a lucid overview of the field,
illustrated with plentiful examples from west European languages. This is again
something of a model chapter, in that the reader is introduced to the field, taken
through the major categories and causes of semantic change, ending with a
summary of the theoretical state of the art. Curiously, and perhaps deliberately,
grammaticalization is discussed briefly under the rubric ''syntagmatic changes''
without any mention of the term ''grammatic(al)ization.'' This could confuse a
beginner, but then the book is evidently not intended for beginners. It is probably a
reflection of the state of the art that contact-induced semantic change does not
receive the degree of attention that it warrants.

The introductory paragraph of Krisch's brief contribution (Ch. 17) on etymology
indicates that the author was unsure how to perform his task -- whether to give a
theoretical survey or to exemplify. He chooses an approach closer to the latter, but
his understanding of the task was apparently different from other contributors', as
the chapter seems to be addressed to the non-linguist beginner: it would fit better
into a textbook than into the present companion. It deals at a very basic level with
the question of what etymology is rather than providing an overview of current
theory and practice.

Drinka's chapter (18) on language contact is a masterpiece. In just under 20 pages
she succeeds in providing a balanced overview of what is now a complex subfield
of linguistics, and the reader who reads all her references would be well informed
indeed. Her historiography begins with Schmidt's Wave Theory and ends with
Matras on European Romani. The section on areal linguistics is a short catalogue
of the literature on language areas (the effects of areal contact come later). The
section on pidgins and creoles summarizes much of the recent literature and
gently contradicts conventional understanding by pointing to some of the
complexities that occur in creoles. An oddity here is that Drinka's definitions of the
terms ''pidgin'' and ''creole'' appear to be different from older, more conventional
definitions, but she doesn't make this explicit. The two subsections under ''The
effects of contact'' on calquing and metatypy and on replicated grammaticalization
respectively treat these as separate phenomena. I am not sure that they are as
separate as Drinka suggests, since replicated grammaticalization in at least some
cases clearly forms part of metatypy. Nor do I think that replicated
grammaticalization is as conscious as, following Heine and Kuteva, she suggests.
This issue overlaps with the role of the speaker in contact-induced change, the
topic of one of Drinka's subsections on theoretical issues, and one about which I
think scholars will have much more to say as empirical studies of language
contact in progress appear. But this lies beyond the scope of a review.

I enjoyed Chambers' introduction to dialectology (Ch. 19) because it provides an
overview of both regional and social dialectology (it seems rare to find them
accommodated together), delineates clearly the differences in their histories,
methods and goals, and dares to hope that they will before too long be integrated
as dialect geography increasingly adopts sociolonguistic methods. The one area
that is perhaps underemphasized is recent studies that seek to test the apparent-
time hypothesis and which in some instances show that what looks like change
over time in fact (also) has other causes.

I agree with almost everything that Luraghi writes about the causes of language
change (Ch. 20), except perhaps for her conclusion that there is no essential
difference between contact-induced change and ''internally caused'' change. She is
obviously right that the mechanisms whereby an innovation is transmitted through
a community are the same in both cases -- by contact between idiolects -- but the
innovation of a change through contact entails bilingualism, and this is not true of
all innovations. As Chambers (pp. 352–354) mentions in Ch. 19, different kinds of
change affect different age groups, and it is reasonably clear from the variationist
sociolinguistic literature that, for example, fundamental syntactic changes do not
occur in adulthood but may occur during the preadolescent and adolescent
transition from simple imitation of caregivers to assertion of the peer group's
linguistic independence. Herein, perhaps, lies part of the resolution to the
difficulties which Luraghi rightly identifies in theories of both infant and adult
language change.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Malcolm Ross is an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the Australian National University. He is a historical linguist, whose interests include Austronesian languages (especially of the New Guinea region and of Taiwan), Papuan languages (especially those of the Trans New Guinea family and of Island Melanesia) and contact-induced change in the smallscale neolithic communities of Melanesia.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 144114465X
ISBN-13: 9781441144652
Pages: 448
Prices: U.K. £ 100.00