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Historical Linguistics: An Introduction

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Historical linguistics is the study of how and why language changes--both the methods of investigating language change and the theories designed to explain these changes. This highly accessible introductory text takes a hands-on, how-to approach, rather than just talking about the subject as many texts do. The book contains abundant examples both from familiar European lan ...more
Published January 15th 1999 by MIT Press (MA) (first published January 1st 1991)
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Lyle Campbell's Historical Linguistics: An Introduction is a textbook initiating students into the study of language change. Already published in several editions, the book is quite impressive and I highly recommend it to anyone entering the field.

Campbell begins by discussing three types of change, that of sounds, that of the lexicon in borrowing, and analogical change. After making students aware of these diachronic developments, he then presents the comparative method and the technique of pro
Jon Gauthier
An extremely detailed introduction to historical linguistics. Every concept is accompanied by several in-depth examples, some of which are almost excessively wrought out. (Get ready for page-long lists of English place name suffixes and three pages' worth of Japanese loanwords.)

This text goes much further than Crowley's, with far more examples of phonological / grammatical change and entire sections dedicated to concepts unacknowledged by Crowley (chain shifts, vowel lowering / raising, involved
It is one of the best works on historical linguistics.
Mikael Lind
The problem with this book is that it is too stodgy and almost impossible to read from a to b without losing interest along the way. It works as a book of reference for anyone interested in the field, but for something more interesting and thought-provoking I recommend Mark Hale's book Historical Linguistics: Theory and Method.
This one offers a great overview and introduction of historical linguistics, how to do it and where the problems are. The explanations are clear and the exercises are, well, quite difficult. They work nicely as exercises to be solved in class when tutoring.
Jonathan Weinand
This was a fantastic book. I am terribly fond of linguistics, but I feel that this was a very good book for people who aren't necessarily well-versed. At the same time, it is thorough and well-done.
Absolutely fantastic. Interesting, indescribably informative, and as super a reference book for essays as it was a (rather unusual) summer read.
Another book that I started eons ago and got too distracted to pick up again. I am so coming back to this one when the time's right.
good book, somewhere in between intro level and intermediate. some background in linguistics is extremely helpful.
Robert Heckner
A great book. Very clear with a plethora of examples for each topic.
Jun 26, 2010 Megan added it
Historical Linguistics: An Introduction by Lyle Campbell (1999)
Hans Ollaiver
Apr 21, 2014 Hans Ollaiver marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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