Part I: “Language” and “Language Change”: Preliminaries.
1. What is “Language”?.
2. Linguistic Artifacts: Philology.
3. What is a “Descent” Relationship?.
Part II: Phonological Change.
4. Galilean-Style Phonology.
5. The Traditional Approach.
6. In-Depth Consideration of Selected Issues.
7. The Regularity of Sound Change.
Part III: Syntactic Change.
8. What is Syntactic Change?.
9. The Diachrony of Clitics: Phonology and Syntax.
Part IV: Reconstruction Methodology.
10. Reconstruction Methodology.
Part V: Concluding Remarks.
11. Synchronic and Diachronic Linguistics.
“The appearance of this book is one of the most exciting events in historical linguistics in many decades: the book is a stunning achievement. No historical linguist can afford to ignore Hale’s attempt to provide a solid theoretical foundation for the field’s methodological successes, and to link synchronic theoretical linguistics to the study of language change. Hale’s perspective is original and stimulating, as is his lively writing style; some of his claims are sure to be controversial, but those who disagree with him will have to work hard to counter his arguments.” Sarah Thomason, University of Michigan
- An original and engaging introduction to the subject of historical linguistics.
- Presents controversial but compelling ideas in developing a clear understanding as to why historical linguistics has had significant success in some domains, such as phonological history, and why it is considerably less successful in others.
- Explores the relationship between fundamental concepts in historical linguistics, such as 'language' and 'change', and corresponding notions in contemporary (synchronic) linguistic theory.
- Features extensive discussion of traditional and theoretically-oriented historical work in the domains of phonology and syntax.