Directionality in Language Change

Course time: 
Monday/Thursday 1:30-3:20 PM
The 90, Room 203

The similarity of linguistic change across languages is often quite striking, but differences are also apparent. Similarities are of great importance because they reveal how shared human processing and communicative strategies and abilities shape language. Differences may be due to the presence of language-specific forms and structures or to rare types of interactions in change. The discussion will cover grammaticalization, a phenomenon that shows considerable directionality and similarity across languages, as well as other cases in which directionality seems more difficult to establish, such as sound change, lexical semantic change, analogical change and constructionalization.

Students should have a basic knowledge of language change, such as that gained in an introduction to historical linguistics.