The field of historical linguistics has a long and venerable tradition whose main focus has been a study of phonological and morphological changes. In this century, the study of language change has found a place within generative syntax and has established itself as a fruitful line of inquiry.
The book presents, for the first time, a collection of work done in historical linguistics from the perspective of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), a lexical unification-based theory. The problems tackled are representative of the field of historical linguistics. However, this volume stands apart through the number and types of languages surveyed. In addition to presenting new approaches to data from much studied languages like the Romance languages and Germanic, the book introduces issues in the diachronic development of less well studied languages, including Finnish, South Asian languages, and Australian languages. The volume thus offers fresh perspectives on a number of phenomena such as the development or shift of case marking systems, the development of possessive systems, the rise of auxiliaries and the origins of complex predication involving verb particles or light verbs.
is a researcher at the Universität Konstanz. is a researcher at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
Read an excerpt from this book.