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Romance Languages
A Historical Introduction


  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521717847

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • Ti Alkire and Carol Rosen trace the changes that led from colloquial Latin to five major Romance languages, those which ultimately became national or transnational languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Trends in spoken Latin altered or dismantled older categories in phonology and morphology, while the regional varieties of speech, evolving under diverse influences, formed new grammatical patterns, each creating its own internal regularities. Documentary sources for spoken Latin show the beginnings of this process, which comes to full fruition in the medieval emergence of written Romance languages. This book newly distills the facts into an appealing program of study, including exercises, and makes the difficult issues clear, taking well motivated and sometimes innovative stands. It provides not only an essential guide for those new to the topic, but also a reliable compendium for the specialist.

    • Balances a more technical approach with a discursive treatment of relevant historical circumstances, the contact languages and their influence
    • Each chapter contains exercises for readers to practise and consolidate knowledge
    • Contains etymological information linking English words to Romance languages
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This attractive textbook is a great opportunity to bring the unique historical and typological richness of the Romance languages to today's students of language and linguistics and empower them to continue its exploration on their own. In its carefully gradated approach at complex issues of phonology and morphology, the authors provide readers with an analytical in-depth investigation of the diachronic developments in Spanish, French, and Italian, complemented by coherent sketches of Portuguese and Romanian. The book sets a new standard for focus, relevance, and accuracy of data as well as broadly informed and open-minded assessment of competing explanations offered in the literature. Readers who work their way through the book will come away from it with a structured picture of this fascinating language family spanning 2000 years of varying divergence and convergence.' Dieter Wanner, The Ohio State University

    'A user-friendly and straightforward approach to the topic, which cuts through much of the excessive and dense detail of traditional treatments.' Adam Ledgeway, University of Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521717847
    • length: 388 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 174 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.71kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 32 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The evolution of stressed vowels
    2. Early changes in syllable structure and consonants
    3. Consonant weakening and strengthening
    4. New palatal consonants
    5. More about vowels: raising, yod effects, and nasalization
    6. Verb morphology: the present indicative
    7. Verb morphology: systemic reorganization
    8. Noun and adjective morphology
    9. History and structure of Portuguese: an overview
    10. History and structure of Romanian: an overview
    11. Formation of the Romance lexicon
    12. Emergence of the Romance vernaculars
    Suggestions for further reading
    Works cited
    Index of topics.

  • Resources for

    Romance Languages

    Ti Alkire, Carol Rosen

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  • Authors

    Ti Alkire, Cornell University, New York
    Ti Alkire is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University. Besides historical Romance linguistics, his research interests include stylistics, translation theory, and current variation in French and Italian.

    Carol Rosen, Cornell University, New York
    Carol Rosen is a Professor of Linguistics and Romance Studies at Cornell University. Her work in language typology, grammatical relations, and formal theory design lends a special character to her research in Romance linguistics, ranging over historical and contemporary topics.

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