Edited by Juan-Andrés Villena-Ponsoda, Francisco Díaz Montesinos, Antonio Manuel Ávila-Muñoz and Matilde Vida-Castro
[Studies in Language Variation 22] 2019
► pp. 27–52
The study of sound change has evolved from a heuristic tool for 19th century comparative historical reconstruction into the backbone of the rigid approach to language change developed by the Neogrammarians. In the course of the 20th and early 21st century it has become the main meeting point for a range of subdisciplines of linguistics (historical linguistics, dialectology, sociolinguistics, phonology, phonetics and cognitivist approaches to phonetic variation). This contribution sketches some of the main aspects of the approaches to sound change taken in the various corners of the field. By way of a synthesis a theory will be outlined in which three approaches to sound change dovetail to account for the huge and seemingly chaotic body of insights into the phenomenon. Empirical studies of instances of both historical and ongoing sound change in specific varieties of Dutch will serve to illustrate parts of the theory.