Relative Clauses in Time and Space

A case study in the methods of diachronic typology

Rachel Hendery | The Australian National University
ISBN 9789027206824 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
ISBN 9789027273680 | EUR 95.00 | USD 143.00
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This book presents a comprehensive survey of historically attested relative clause constructions from a diachronic typological perspective. Systematic integration of historical data and a typological approach demonstrates how typology and historical linguistics can each benefit from attention to the other. The diachronic behaviour of relative clauses is mapped across a broad range of genetically and geographically diverse languages. Central to the discussion is the strength of evidence for what have previously been claimed to be ‘natural’ or even ‘universal’ pathways of change. While many features of relative clause constructions are found to be remarkably stable over long periods of time, it is shown that language contact seems to be the crucial factor that does trigger change when it occurs. These results point to the importance of incorporating the effects of language contact into models of language change rather than viewing contact situations as exceptional. The findings of this study have implications for the definition of relative clauses, their syntactic structures and the relationships between the different ‘subtypes’ of this construction, as well as offering new directions for the integration of typological and historical linguistic research.
[Typological Studies in Language, 101] 2012.  xii, 281 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“It is well written and clear; the survey of the field is excellent; the evidence is abundant and is used well; the argumentation is clear and persuasive; and the findings make very significant original contributions to a broad and complex topic. This book will no doubt stand as the most significant study of the history of relative clauses for many years to come, by far the most definitive work in this area to date.”
“This book will be regarded as a pioneering work in the area of diachronic syntactic typology.”
“This book provides a model of what kind of research is possible in the diachronic typology of syntax.”
“The book is written very well and its literature review is thorough and proceeds in a step by step fashion. The main points are explained by presenting appropriate data alongside the analysis. The book mainly discusses diachronic typology based on a collection of synchronic typological works, which allows the author to check the historical change and development in relative clause constructions. The scope of the book covers many language families worldwide. It examines relative markers, types of relatives and the similarities and differences between different relative markers in the same language based on the available synchronic work on that language. It unfolds the complex process of change and development in complex sentence constructions in a language. The author deserves much credit for her vast, thorough literature review, which considers linguists’ claims, and for formulating generalizations based on data available from previous literature that is extrapolated to the present diachronic work.”
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Cited by 31 other publications

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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 may 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2012012902 | Marc record