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1 Introduction Historical linguistics is the oldest sub-discipline of linguistics, and it constitutes an amazing success story. It gave us a clear idea of the laws governing language change, as well as detailed insights into the languages – and thus the cultures and living conditions – of prehistoric populations which left no written records. The diachronic dimension of languages is essential for a proper understanding of their synchronic properties. Also, the findings from historical linguistics are an important source of information for other fields of

Review article A handbook of historical linguistics PAOLO RAMAT Brian D. Joseph and Richard D. Janda, editors: The Handbook of Histor- ical Linguistics. Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 1. Introduction Only those who have had the experience of editing a collective volume, like the present reviewer, can fully appreciate the hard work done by Joseph and Janda (henceforth J&J). The idea of the Handbook was first conceived in 1994. J&J were able to convince well-known and authoritative linguists to collaborate to the enterprise and managed

HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS NICHOLAS CLEAVELAND BODMAN I. INTRODUCTION The literature on Chinese historical linguistics is already very large, and indeed unti very recently at least, the history of the language and its writing system has been the major focus of attention for scholars writing on the Chinese language. These writings are now becoming more and more voluminous, and many of them deserve more than ever before to be characterized as having real linguistic value, in the modern sense of the term, whereas the earlier writings in this field pertain more

1 Introduction A major motivation for writing the target article was to initiate a debate within the research community about standards of model fitting and model evaluation in Computational Historical Linguistics (CHL). I am grateful for and honored by the thoughtful comments it received, which deepened my understanding of issues involved. In the following, I will address some of specific points brought up by Hammarström et al. ( Section 2 ) and List ( Section 3 ) and conclude with some general considerations. 2 Reply to Hammarström et al The authors give a very

1 The Cognitive Commitment, historical linguistics and the social turn The Cognitive Commitment, the idea that language is best analyzed in terms of general cognitive principles, has been a cornerstone of Cognitive Linguistics ever since the framework emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the world is changing. Does the “social turn” with its strong focus on the speech community present a challenge to a theory where the mind of individual speakers has played first violin? And how should Cognitive Linguistics meet the “quantitative turn”, whereby linguistic

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