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Language and History, Linguistics and Historiography

Interdisciplinary Approaches


Nils Langer, Steffan Davies and Wim Vandenbussche

What are the points of contact between the study of language and the study of history? What are the possibilities for collaboration between linguists and historians, and what prevents it? This volume, the proceedings of an international conference held at the University of Bristol in April 2009, presents twenty-two articles by linguists and historians, exploring the relationship between the fields theoretically, conceptually and in practice. Contributions focus on a variety of European and American languages, in historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present day. Key themes at the intersection of these two disciplines are the standardization and classification of languages, the social and demographic history of medieval and early modern Europe, the study of language and history ‘from below’, and the function of language in modern politics. The value of interdisciplinary collaboration is demonstrated in a wide-ranging set of case studies, on topics including language contact in Northern and Central Europe, the relationship between peninsular and transatlantic Spanish, and new approaches to the recent histories of Nicaragua, Luxembourg and Bulgaria. The volume seeks out the interdependencies between the two fields and asks why exchanges between linguists and historians remain the exception rather than the rule.


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List of Tables xi


List of Tables Table 1 Consonant alternations in Dutch spelling, compared with German 105 Table 2 Dual classification of Slavic 154 Table 3 Elaborated dual classification of Slavic 157 Table 4 Revised triple classification of Slavic I 157 Table 5 Revised triple classification of Slavic II 158 Table 6 Revised triple classification of Slavic III 159 Table 7 Dual-cum-quadruple classification of Slavic 163 Table 8 Spelling features and the normative framework 242–243 Table 9 Southern (left) and Northern (right) spelling variants per feature (distribution per cent) in a digitized corpus of handwritten documents from the Southern Netherlands 246 Table 10 Spelling variants per province (distribution per cent) 247 Table 11 Correlation between mother tongue and the sense of af filiation to Belgium 262 Table 12 Frequency distribution for the variables indicating the sense of af filiation to Belgium 262–263 Table 13 Frequency distributions for the language command 264 Table 14 Correlation between language command and the sense of af filiation to Belgium 265 Table 15 Frequencies of masculine and feminine nouns used with masculine preposition + article forms in PROME, 1280–1399 281 Table 16 Frequency of masculine and feminine noun types co-occurring with masculine premodifier forms cel, cest, nul and tut, late thirteenth century/early fourteenth century and 1370s 283–284 xii List of Tables Table 17 Frequencies of del with masculine and feminine nouns, 1280–1324 and 1377–1399 285 Table 18 Locals and immigrants in the Dunkirk marriage register, by gender and sample year 330 Table...

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