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Providing an ideal introduction to historical semantics, this book offers graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in linguistics an accessible overview of the structural and cognitive approaches to English historical semantics. Focusing primarily on Lexical Semantics, the study of word meaning, the book looks at how such studies help to answer two key questions in Historical Linguistics: how and why languages change. Considering changes both in the meanings of individual word forms and in larger areas of the lexicon, English Historical Semantics illustrates how data can be found and analysed, and explores how Lexical Semantics interacts with other areas of linguistics. In particular, the book describes in detail two of the most essential resources in this field: the Oxford English Dictionary and the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. By using corpus data to study historical semantics, this book offers a solid grounding in the basic methodology of how to analyse corpus data, providing students with the tools to explore new words entering the language, and to study language change. With extended case studies including colour and kinship terms, suggestions for further reading, and exercises designed to stimulate reflection and test understanding, this textbook is an invaluable resource and practical guide designed to help students navigate this large and fascinating field. Edinburgh Textbooks on The English Language – Advanced Series Editor: Heinz Giegerich Books in this series provide readers with a detailed description and explanation of key areas in English Language study. The authors presuppose a basic working knowledge of the topic and explore aspects of the linguistics of English for an intermediate or advanced student readership.
This is an accessible, hands-on introduction to historical linguistics. This practical introduction to the study of language change does not just talk about topics. With abundant examples and exercises, it helps students learn for themselves how to do historical linguistics. Distinctive to the book is its combination of the traditional standard topics with others now considered vital to historical linguistics: explanations of why languages change; sociolinguistic aspects of linguistic change; syntactic change and grammaticalization; distant genetic relationships; and linguistic prehistory. In addition, this edition contains two new chapters on morphological change and quantitative approaches; an expanded chapter on language contact with new sections on pidgins and creoles, mixed languages, and endangered languages; new sections on the language families and language isolates of the world; examination of specific proposals of distant genetic relationship; and a new section on writing systems. With its clear, readable style, expert guidance and comprehensive coverage, “Historical Linguistics: An Introduction” is not only an invaluable textbook for students coming to the subject for the first time, but also an enlightening read for specialists in the field and non-specialists alike. Key features: practical hands-on approach to the subject, including numerous student exercises; examples taken from a wide range of languages, including non-Indo-European languages, illustrate concepts and methods; engaging writing style combined with insightful coverage makes this an engrossing introduction; and, separate pdf ‘Answer Key’ is available for lecturers.