Studies in the History of the English Language II: Unfolding Conversations

Studies in the History of the English Language II: Unfolding Conversations

Studies in the History of the English Language II: Unfolding Conversations

Studies in the History of the English Language II: Unfolding Conversations

Synopsis

The volume contains selected papers from the SHEL-2 conference held at the University of Washington in Spring 2002. Scholars from North America and Europe address a broad spectrum of research topics in historical English linguistics, including new theories/methods such as Optimality Theory and corpus linguistics, and traditional fields such as phonology and syntax. In each of the four sections - Philology and linguistics; Corpus- and text-based studies; Constraint-based studies; and Dialectology - leading scholars respond directly to each other's arguments within the volume. The volume captures an ongoing conversation at the heart of historical English linguistics: the question of evidence and historical reconstruction.

Excerpt

The second biennial meeting of the Studies in the History of the English Language conference (abbreviated SHEL-2) was held at the University of Washington in Seattle in March of 2002. the conference series, which began at ucla in 2000, originated in a desire to provide focus to and stimulate research in the field of historical English linguistics in North America. the papers in this volume, selected from the thirty papers presented at the conference, are a testament to the exciting and innovative research on the history of the English language happening in North America as well as the fascinating and productive conversations taking place among scholars in North America and in Europe.

This volume is structured, in fact, around the theme of conversation. As the history of English unfolds all around us in the dialects of English in North America and in Britain, as well as in the distinctive varieties of World English around the globe, the tradition of scholarly conversation about these linguistic developments continues among scholars past and present. New resources such as electronic corpora and recent theoretical models such as optimality theory change some of the terms of the discussion and open rich new domains for historical research and critical analysis. At the same time, the goals at the core of historical English linguistics remain constant, and modern scholars revisit long-standing questions about the development of the language with new data and fresh perspectives.

This volume witnesses conversations between new theories/methods and traditional fields such as phonology and syntax. It is also a conversation between the present and the past. As William Labov’s uniformitarian principle articulates, our understanding of the mechanisms of current language change can critically inform our analysis of past language changes, on the assumption that historical forces of language change are the sameor operate in similar ways – to present forces of change. Donka Minkova and Lesley Milroy propose explanations for historical variability in initial [h] within this framework; Richard M. Hogg examines patterns of dialect variation for negative contraction in medieval English; Susan M. Fitzmaurice and Erik Smitterberg reconstruct possible social networks affecting the spread of progressive constructions. Betty Phillips’ study of current dialect variation confirms a long-standing hypothesis about females being innovators – a finding similarly suggested in Fitzmaurice’s study of language . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.