In its introduction and 25 chapters, written by leading specialists in the field, this volume achieves two main goals. It covers the most important methods of historical linguistics including comparative reconstruction and internal reconstruction, reliable ways of determining language relatedness, and contemporary approaches to dialectological investigation. It also presents sophisticated overviews of the principles that emerge from the in-depth study of phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic change, including grammaticalization, and offers wide-ranging explorations of the major factors at work in the causation of change.
The book begins with an extensive and uniquely comprehensive introduction by the editors that places the study of historical linguistics in its proper context both within the field of linguistics itself and within the historical sciences more generally. The well-conceived and lucidly written articles in this volume, supplemented with an extensive bibliography and detailed indexes, make The Handbook of Historical Linguistics an indispensable resource for anyone with an interest in history and/or language.