Cycles in Language Change

ISBN : 9780198824961

Miriam Bouzouita; Anne Breitbarth; Lieven Danckaert; Elisabeth Witzenhausen
336 ページ
156 x 234 mm
Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics




This volume explores the multiple aspects of cyclical syntactic change from a wide range of empirical perspectives. The notion of 'linguistic cycle' has long been recognized as being relevant to the description of many processes of language change. In grammaticalization, a given linguistic form loses its lexical meaning - and sometimes some of its phonological content - and then gradually weakens until it ultimately vanishes. This change becomes cyclical when the grammaticalized form is replaced by an innovative item, which can then develop along exactly the same pathway.
But cyclical changes have also been observed in language change outside of grammaticalization proper.
The chapters in this book reflect the growing interest in the phenomenon of grammaticalization and cyclicity in generative syntax, with topics including the diachrony of negation, the syntax of determiners and pronominal clitics, the internal structure of wh-words and logical operators, cyclical changes in argument structure, and the relationship between morphology and syntax. The contributions draw on data from multiple language families, such as Indo-European, Semitic, Japonic, and Athabascan.
The volume combines empirical descriptions of novel comparative data with detailed theoretical analysis, and will appeal to historical linguists working in formal and usage-based frameworks, as well as to typologists and scholars interested in language variation and change more broadly.


1 Anne Breitbarth, Lieven Danckaert, Elisabeth Witzenhausen, and Miriam Bouzouita: Cycling through diachrony
2 Elly van Gelderen: Cyclical change and problems of projection
3 Eric Fuss: When morphological and syntactic change are not in sync: Reassessing diachronic implications of the Rich Agreement Hypothesis
4 Susann Fischer, Mario Navarro, and Jorge Vega Vilanova: The clitic doubling parameter: Development and distribution of a cyclic change
5 Jacopo Garzonio and Silvia Rossi: Weak elements in cycles: A case study on dative pronouns in Old Italo-Romance
6 Judy Bernstein, Francisco Ordonez, and Francesc Roca: On the emergence of personal articles in the history of Catalan
7 Kari Kinn: Bare singular nouns in Middle Norwegian
8 Andreas Blumel and Marco Coniglio: What kind of constructions yield what kind of constructions?
9 Moreno Mitrovic: Quantificational cycles and shifts
10 Cecilia Poletto and Emanuela Sanfelici: On the relative cycle: The case of P+che relative clauses from Old to Modern Italian
11 Karen De Clercq: French negation, the Superset Principle, and Feature Conservation
12 Elitzur A. Bar-Asher Siegal and Karen De Clercq: From negative cleft to external negator
13 Montserrat Batllori, Elisabeth Gibert-Sotelo, and Isabel Pujol: Changes in the argument and event structure of psych verbs in the history of Spanish


Miriam Bouzouita is Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at Ghent University, where she is coordinator of the Diachronic and Diatopic Linguistics (DiaLing) research group. She also leads research projects on grammatical variation in spatial adverbial constructions in Spanish dialects, and on the morphosyntactic annotation and parsing of the COSER corpus. Her interests include Ibero-Romance historical linguistics and dialectology, and she has published on the grammaticalization of clitics, the future, and the left periphery.
Anne Breitbarth is Associate Professor of Historical German Linguistics at Ghent University. She has published on issues in historical syntax and language change in High and Low German, as well as Dutch and English, and has led projects building parsed corpora for historical Low German and Southern Dutch dialects. She is the author of The History of Low German Negation (OUP, 2014) and editor of several volumes on language change in the domains of negation and polarity, as well as diachronic change and stability in grammar.
Lieven Danckaert currently works as a CNRS researcher at the University of Lille. He was previously employed at Ghent University, where he obtained his PhD in 2011. His expertise is in generative grammar and Latin syntax, with special emphasis on the study of word order and the use of quantitative, corpus-based methods. He is the author of two monographs: Latin Embedded Clauses: The Left Periphery (Benjamins, 2012) and The Development of Latin Clause Structure: A Study of the Extended Verb Phrase (OUP, 2017).
Elisabeth Witzenhausen is a PhD student in historical linguistics at Ghent University, working on the functional change of the preverbal negative marker in Continental West Germanic languages within a generative framework. She uses both quantitative and corpus-based methods and is interested in the syntax-semantics interface, clause linking, and modality, as well as onomastics.