Historical linguistics 2007

Historical linguistics 2007: Selected papers from the 18th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Montreal, 6–11 August 2007. Ed. by Monique Dufresne, Fernande Dupuis, and Etleva Vocaj. (Current issues in linguistic theory 308.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. x, 311. ISBN 9789027248244. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Malcolm Ross, The Australian National University

This volume contains twenty-four articles in four parts. All but three concern Romance or Germanic languages. For reasons of space, the author(s) of each article and a brief indication of its content are given.

Part 1 deals with phonology. Ashley L. Burnett writes on vowel length in French loanwords in Middle English and Laura Catharine Smith on the distribution of allomorphs of the Dutch diminutive -(e)tje. Bridget Smith suggests that variation in the articulation of the dental fricative in American English sheds light on the reflexes of the Proto-Germanic dental fricative.

Part 2 contains twelve articles on morphology, syntax, and semantics. Cynthia L. Allen examines the Middle English demise of the ‘God’s love’ construction. Anne Breitbarth reanalyzes the development of bipartite negation in West Germanic. Mary T. Copple shows that in some Peninsular Spanish varieties the present perfect is being grammaticalized as a perfective. Viviane Déprez presents a minimalist analysis of grammaticalizations in the DPs of French-based creoles. Martin Maiden, Andrew Swearingen, and Paul O’Neill show how imperatives have played a special diachronic role in Romance verbal paradigms. Christiane Marchello-Nizia describes how cohesion between the French verb and the object NP has increased over time.

Chantal Melis and Marcela Flores describe the emergence of the Spanish ‘recipient passive’. Fuyo Osawa argues that English genitive -’s was reanalyzed as a clitic earlier than the loss of other inflectional cases. María Luisa Rivero and Constanta Rodica Diaconscu review the history of dative experiencer constructions in Spanish and Romanian. Ioanna Sitaridou and Marina Terkourafi examine the replacement of the genitive plural ending -ōn by accusative plural -ous in Cypriot Greek masculine nouns. Freek van de Velde looks at the increasing use of pre-determiner modifiers in Dutch and English. Dieter Wanner examines the ordering of infinitive and pronominal clitic in the history of Spanish.

Part 3 contains five articles on sociolinguistics and dialectology. Montserrat Adam-Aulinas examines a century of changes in Girona Catalan verbal morphology. Louise Beaulieu and Wladyslaw Cichocki analyze the distribution of Acadian French third-person plural verbal suffixes. Vicky Tzuyin Lai and Zygmunt Frajzyngier track changes in first-person pronouns from Classical Chinese to Mandarin. The two remaining articles are panel and trend studies of Vinderup Danish by Signe Weden Schøning and Inge Lise Pedersen and of Petrer Catalan by Orland Verdù.

Part 4, ‘Tools and methodology’, has four articles. Mahé Ben Hamed and Sébastien Flavier describe a pilot version of an online database of sound changes. Fernande Dupuis and Ludovic Lebart describe software tools designed to extract generalizations and measures of intra-textual variation from text corpora. Helge Sandoy correlates innovation with community type in Norwegian dialects. Valentyna Skybina and Iryna Galutskikh present a diachronic comparison of English and German lexicons

Many of the articles could have been improved by careful copyediting.