LING 052 — Spring 2022
Historical and Comparative Linguistics

Professor:Jonathan North Washington
Office:Pearson 105
Office phone:x6134
Office hours:T 13:30-15:00
& by appointment
also available by messaging on Google Chat
Lecture Time:TTh 9:55-11:10 a.m.
Classroom:Trotter 201
Course website:
Course moodle site: S22 - LING052.01

Course Syllabus

Errata in Trask's Historical Linguistics

Schedule (subject to adjustment)

1 30 Aug

Introductions, syllabus

What/why is Historical Linguistics

Intro to history of English

01 Sep

Intro to Historical Ling (ctd)

Typology of language change

Trask Ch. 1

2 06 Sep

Typology of language change (ctd)


D'Arcy et al. (2013) - Asymmetrical trajectories: The past and present of -body/-one

Hickey (2012) - Early English and the Celtic Hypothesis

08 Sep

Lexical and semantic change

Trask Ch. 2

3 13 Sep

Lexical and semantic change


Zenner et al. (2014) - Core vocabulary, borrowability and entrenchment

Wales (2004) - Second Person Pronouns in Contemporary English: The End of a Story or Just the Beginning?

Thomas Grano (2006) - “Me and her” meets “he and I”: Case, person, and linear ordering in English coordinated pronouns OR Van Engen (2007) - Coordinated Pronoun Variation in American English

15 Sep

Sound change

Trask Ch. 3

4 20 Sep

Sound change


Michaud, Jacques, & Rankin (2012) - Historical transfer of nasality between consonantal onset and vowel: From C to V or from V to C?

22 Sep

Sound system change

Trask Ch. 4

5 27 Sep

Sound system change


Haspelmath (2006) - Against markedness

Matisoff (2006) - Genetic versus Contact Relationship: Prosodic Diffusibility in South-East Asian Languages

29 Sep

Morphological and Syntactic change

Trask Chs. 5 & 6

6 4 Oct

Morphological and Syntactic change


DeLancey (2001) - The mirative and evidentiality

Cutler, Hawkins, & Gilligan (1985) - The suffixing preference: a processing explanation

Vennemann (2002) - On the Rise of ‘Celtic’ Syntax in Middle English

6 Oct

Relatedness between languages

Trask Ch. 7

11 Oct

No class — Fall break!


13 Oct

No class — Fall break!

7 18 Oct

Relatedness between languages

The comparative method

Trask Ch. 8

Jacques & List (2019) - Save the trees: Why we need tree models in linguistic reconstruction (and when we should apply them)

Matras (2005) - The classification of Romani dialects - A geographical-historic perspective

Wichmann et al. (2010) - Homelands of the world's language families: A quantitative approach

Georg et al. (1998) - Telling General Linguists about Altaic AND Beckwith (2007) - The Altaic Convergence Theory

20 Oct

The comparative method


8 25 Oct

The comparative method


27 Oct

Internal reconstruction

Trask Ch. 9

9 1 Nov

Internal reconstruction


3 Nov

The origin and propagation of change

Trask Ch. 10

10 8 Nov

The origin and propagation of change


Nagy (2011) - Lexical change and language contact: Faetar in Italy and Canada

10 Nov

Language contact and linguistic areas

Trask Ch. 11.1-11.2

11 15 Nov

Language contact and linguistic areas


Thomason & Kaufman (1989) - Contact-Induced Language Change: An Analytic Framework

Masica (2001) - The Definition and Significance of Linguistic Areas: Methods, Pitfalls, and Possibilities (with Special Reference to the Validity of South Asia as a Linguistic Area)

Haspelmath (2001) - The European linguistic area: Standard Average European

Friedman (2006) - The Balkans as a Linguistic Area

Matras & Sakel (2007) - Investigating the mechanisms of pattern replication in language convergence

17 Nov

Language shift, planning, and revitalisation

Trask Ch. 11.3-11.5

12 22 Nov

Language shift, planning, and revitalisation


McWhorter (2006) - Creole Transplantation: A source of solutions to resistant anomalies

Burling (2009) - The Lingua Franca Cycle: Implications for Language Shift, Language Change, and Language Classification

24 Nov

No class — Thanksgiving / National Day of Mourning

13 29 Nov

Language and prehistory

Trask Ch. 12

Garrett (2000) - A new model of Indo-European Subgrouping and Dispersal

Ringe (2009) - The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe

Stemberger (1979) - Reconstructing the Proto-Indo-Europeans

Starostin (2012) - Dene-Yeniseian: a critical assessment (and Vajda’s reply)

1 Dec

Language and prehistory / flex day


Sneller & Roberts (2018) - Why some behaviors spread while others don’t: A laboratory simulation of dialect contact

14 6 Dec

Historical linguistics in the lab

13 Dec

(9:00-12:00) Language family presentations

final exam