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date: 17 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores various ways in which established and recent theories, concepts and methods in language typology are, or can be, relevant for investigating language change in general and the history of English(es) in particular. It considers the ways that the study of the history of the English language may benefit from a modern typologist’s take on language variation and change. Language typology can be used in at least four different ways to rethink the history of English and English historical linguistics: in light of (pervasive) cross-linguistic tendencies; in light of larger patterns or correlations among structural changes; in light of the major branches of diachronic typology, especially diachronic word order typology and grammaticalization; and in light of recent theories and especially (quantitative) methods in language typology. Another factor involved in this rethinking process is dialectology.

Keywords: language typology, language change, English, history, historical linguistics, word order, grammaticalization, dialectology

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