A Historical Morphology of English, Ringe D., 2021

A Historical Morphology of English, Ringe D., 2021.

   Like the other volumes in this series, this is intended to be a textbook for students who already have a solid elementary grounding in linguistics. Of course, I hope that it will prove to be more broadly accessible, but it still seems advisable to make some remarks about the book and its subject with students specially in mind.

A Historical Morphology of English, Ringe D., 2021

The sources and course of linguistic change.
Many aspects of language change were discovered, explored, and formalized generations ago; the classic example is the regularity of sound change (i.e. spontaneous changes in pronunciation), which was discovered in the 1870s and formalized in phonemic terms in Hoenigswald 1960. As any historical phonologist with broad experience of languages is aware, the regularity of sound change is statistically overwhelming. However, within the past fifty years or so we have also begun to acquire substantial information about how linguistic changes begin and how they propagate through a speech community. As a result, we are now able to identify a process of sound change that appears to be exceptionless within speech communities (narrowly defined), and that must be the ultimate source of the large-scale regularity that we find in the historical record; for discussion see Fruehwald 2016 and Labov, forthcoming.

The spread of linguistic changes through speech communities is by now also fairly well understood, thanks to the work of William Labov and his colleagues and students in sociolinguistics. It is clear that we must recognize speech communities in the narrowest sense—sociologically coherent communities speaking single dialects narrowly defined—and progressively broader speech communities, the broadest being the sum of all narrower communities speaking mutually intelligible dialects. It is also clear that innovations occur locally and spread at first within narrow speech communities; they may or may not spread outward into the broader speech community. A good introduction to these phenomena is Trudgill 2000; a compendium of what the sociolinguistic community has learned about language change is Labov 1994–2010.

Section A Concepts.
1 Morphology.
2 Linguistic change and the evidence of the past.
Section B Inflectional morphology.
3 Old English inflectional morphology.
4 Inflectional change in late Old English.
5 Casemarking in Middle English.
6 Contact with Norse and French.
7 Middle English verb inflection.
8 Toward Modern English.
Section C Derivational morphology.
9 Inherited derivational patterns.
10 French derivational patterns in English.
11 Latinate derivational patterns in English.
12 Some aspects of modern English derivational morphology.

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