One of the principal challenges of historical linguistics is to explain the causes of language change. Any such explanation, however, must also address the `actuation problem': why is it that changes occurring in a given language at a certain time cannot be reliably predicted to recur in other languages, under apparently similar conditions? The sixteen contributions to the present volume each aim to elucidate various aspects of this problem, including: What processes can be identified as the drivers of change? How central are syntax-external (phonological, lexical or contact-based) factors in triggering syntactic change? And how can all of these factors be reconciled with the actuation problem? Exploring data from a wide range of languages from both a formal and a functional perspective, this book promises to be of interest to advanced students and researchers in historical linguistics, syntax and their intersection.
1. List of contributors; 2. Introduction: Continuity and change in grammar (by Breitbarth, Anne); 3. Part I. Continuity; 4. What changed where?: A plea for the re-evaluation of dialectal evidence (by Axel, Katrin); 5. Impossible changes and impossible borrowings: The Final-over-Final Constraint (by Biberauer, Theresa); 6. Continuity is change: The long tail of Jespersen's cycle in Flemish (by Breitbarth, Anne); 7. Using the Matrix Language Frame model to measure the extent of word-order convergence in Welsh-English bilingual speech (by Davies, Peredur); 8. On language contact as an inhibitor of language change: The Spanish of Catalan bilinguals in Majorca (by Enrique-Arias, Andres); 9. Towards notions of comparative continuity in English and French (by Gergel, Remus); 10. Variation, continuity and contact in Middle Norwegian and Middle Low German (by Sundquist, John D.); 11. Part II. Change; 12. Directionality in word-order change in Austronesian languages (by Aldridge, Edith); 13. Negative co-ordination in the history of English (by Ingham, Richard P.); 14. Formal features and the development of the Spanish D-system (by Ishikawa, Masataka); 15. The rise of OV word order in Irish verbal-noun clauses (by Lash, Elliott); 16. The great siSwati locative shift (by Marten, Lutz); 17. The impact of failed changes (by Postma, Gertjan); 18. A case of degrammaticalization in northern Swedish (by Rosenkvist, Henrik); 19. Jespersen's Cycle in German from the phonological perspective of syllable and word languages (by Szczepaniak, Renata); 20. An article on the rise: Contact-induced change and the rise and fall of N-to-D movement (by Dimitrova-Vulchanova, Mila); 21. Language index; 22. Subject index