LING 052 — Spring 2019
Historical and Comparative Linguistics

Professor:Jonathan North Washington
Office:Pearson 105
Office phone:x6134
Office hours:T&W 13:15-14:45
Lecture Time:M 1:15-4:00pm
Classroom:Beardsley 318
Course website:
Course moodle site: S19 - LING052.01

Course Syllabus

Errata in Trask's Historical Linguistics

Schedule (updated often)

(by Monday)
(by Thursday)
1 23 Jan

Introductions, syllabus

What/why is Historical Linguistics

Intro to history of English

2 28 Jan

Intro to Historical Ling (ctd)

Typology of language change

Trask Ch. 1


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

Hickey (2012) - Early English and the Celtic Hypothesis

3 4 Feb

Lexical and semantic change

Trask Ch. 2


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

4 11 Feb

Sound change

Trask Ch. 3


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

5 18 Feb

Sound system change

Trask Ch. 4


Haspelmath (2006) - Against markedness

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

6 25 Feb

Morphological and Syntactic change

Trask Chs. 5 & 6


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

7 4 Mar

Relatedness between languages

Trask Ch. 7


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

11 Mar

Spring break!


8 18 Mar

The comparative method

Trask Ch. 8


9 25 Mar

Internal reconstruction

Trask Ch. 9


10 1 Apr

The origin and propagation of change

Trask Ch. 10


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

11 8 Apr

Language contact and linguistic areas

Trask Ch. 11.1-11.2


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

12 15 Apr

Language birth, death, planning

Trask Ch. 11.3-11.5


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

13 22 Apr

Language and prehistory

Trask Ch. 12


Garrett (2006) - Convergence in the Formation of Indo-European Subgroups: Phylogeny and Chronology

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)

14 29 Apr

Historical linguistics in the lab


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


Language family presentations

final exam