Language Change: Progress or Decay? (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics) by Aitchison, Jean
Cambridge University Press, 25 February 2013
Paperback, 312 pages
How and why do languages change? Where does the evidence of language change come from? How do languages begin and end? This introduction to language change explores these and other questions, considering changes through time. The central theme of this book is whether language change is a symptom of progress or decay. This book will show you why it is neither, and that understanding the factors surrounding how language change occurs is essential to understanding why it happens. This updated edition remains non-technical and accessible to readers with no previous knowledge of linguistics.
"Jean Aitchison's Language Change: Progress or Decay? has been essential introductory reading for students of historical linguistics for many years: it manages the rare trick of combining theoretical sophistication and clear, simple (but not simplistic) expression. This new edition, which takes account of current issues in language-change studies while not discarding classic discussions, remains a fine and very approachable survey. I shall certainly recommend it to my undergraduates."
Jeremy J. Smith, University of Glasgow
"A brilliant essay in linguistics ... Even in the most complex spaghetti junctions of her argument, her own directions are always clear, and her own language lively, fresh and stimulating."
"... captivating and highly readable ... linguistic phenomena are lucidly explained, often through the use of analogy, graphics and clear examples taken from a range of different languages. A new and welcome addition to this fourth edition are the questions placed at the end of the book - three for each chapter - which help readers to test their understanding of the main points."
Ilse Wischer, translated from Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik
An introduction to language change. This updated edition remains non-technical and accessible to readers with no previous knowledge of linguistics.
About the Author
After many years lecturing with the University of London (at the London School of Economics and Political Science), Jean Aitchison was Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford (1993-2003) and is now an Emeritus Professor. She is the author of a number of books on language, including The Language Web (Cambridge University Press, 1997).