Most people modify their ways of speaking, writing, texting, and e-mailing, and so on, according to the people with whom they are communicating. This fascinating book asks why we 'accommodate' to others in this way, and explores the various social consequences arising from it.
Review of Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics
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 versa.
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.'' (p369)
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 know.
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 configurational.
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:
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.