Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: Special issue on cognitive approaches to the history of English: introduction
Author: Alexander Bergs
Author: Thomas Hoffmann
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; History of Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: What do we know about the past? For at least some languages, we have textual (or archaeological) evidence from various periods – beyond that, there is only reconstruction. But even when we have some textual evidence, what does it tell us? The answer to this question crucially depends on the way we approach the question: we can treat texts as decontextualized, linguistic evidence, as Neogrammarian or Structuralist studies have done (see McMahon 1994: 17–32). Such an approach already allows us to discover important generalizations about the linguistic state of affairs of a particular language or historical period. Using decontextualized historical evidence, for example, we can already ascertain with a high degree of certainty that in Old English voiced and voiceless fricatives were allophones, rather than phonemes, that there was no do-periphrasis in Middle English, and that in Early Modern English there was some variability between third-person singular present tense {-s} and {-th} – just as we know that present-day Japanese and Korean use postpositions, rather than prepositions.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

Return to TOC.

View the full article for free in the current issue of
Cambridge Extra Magazine!
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page