Historical linguistics, the oldest field in linguistics, has been traditionally dominated by phonological and etymological investigations. Only in the late twentieth century have linguists begun to focus their interest and research on the area of syntactic change and the insight it provides on the nature of language. This volume represents the first major contribution on the mechanisms of syntactic change.
The fourteen articles that make up this volume were selected from the Symposium on the Mechanisms of Syntactic Change held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1976, one of a series of three conferences sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
These papers clearly demonstrate that the generative approach to the study of language does not explain diachronic processes in syntax. This collection is enlightening, provocative, and carefully documented with data drawn from a great variety of language families.
List of Participants
I. The Nature of Syntactic Change
1. On the Gradual Nature of Syntactic Change (Sandra Chung)
2. Syntactic Reanalysis (Ronald W. Langacker)
3. Reanalysis and Actualization in Syntactic Change (Alan Timberlake)
II. Word Order Change
4. The Drift from VSO to SVO in Biblical Hebrew: The Pragmatics of Tense-Aspect (Talmy Givón)
5. Syntactic Change and SOV Structure: The Yuman Case (Margaret Langdon)
6. Motivations for Exbraciation in Old English (Robert P. Stockwell)
III. Syntactic Change and Ergativity
7. On Mechanisms by Which Languages Become Ergative (Stephen R. Anderson)
8. The Syntactic Development of Australian Languages (R. M. W. Dixon)
IV. Development of the Copula
9. A Mechanism for the Development of Copula Morphemes (Charles N. Li and Sandra A. Thompson)
10. From Existential to Copula: The History of Yuman BE (Pamela Munro)
V. Clisis and Verb Morphology
11. The Evolution of Third Person Verb Agreement in the Iroquoian Languages (Wallace L. Chafe)
12. From Auxiliary Verb Phrase to Inflectional Suffix (Mary R. Haas)
13. Clisis and Diachrony (Susan Steele)
VI. Multiple Analyses
14. Multiple Analyses (Jorge Hankamer)