755 Diachronic Linguistics (3 units)

Fall 2013


TuTh 11:15 - 12:30 - South College 301


Rex Wallace []

Alice Harris []


Linguistics 755, Diachronic Linguistics, will be taught by Alice Harris and Rex Wallace. However, because of Rexs other responsibilities (he is Associate Dean of CHFA), it is unclear how much he will be able to contribute. The theme of the seminar this year will be reconstruction. In order to do reconstruction, one must understand change, since part of reconstruction is a process of un-doing change. We will begin with sound change, and go on to comparative and internal reconstruction. Then we will consider morphological change and reconstruction, followed by syntactic change and reconstruction. In each topic, we will discuss both traditional insights and recent work. In sound change, we will include recent work on phonologization. Work by Harold Koch on languages of Australia and work by Martin Maiden on Romance languages will figure in the topics on morphological change and reconstruction. Syntactic change will include work rethinking the traditional notion of reanalysis and controversial work by Jhanna Bardal to reconstruct dative subjects to Proto-Germanic and perhaps to Proto-Indo-European. Each student will present two of the papers we read for the class and lead class discussion of them. We will do problem sets in both change and reconstruction, with examples selected from as many language families as possible.