LOT Winter School 2019

RM1 - Methods in historical linguistics (quantitative historical linguistics and mapping techniques)

Arjen Versloot


Title of the course: Methods in historical linguistics (quantitative historical linguistics and mapping techniques)

Teacher: Arjen Versloot

Address: PCH-building room 6.07, Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Email address:a.p.versloot@gmail.com

Course info
Level: RM1 (First year Research Master Linguistics)

Course description:
Historical texts provide our only direct source of knowledge of historical stages of the language. Each text represents a sample from the past and groups of texts build (mostly small) corpora. These are definitely not ‘big data’ and still it is possible to use quantitative techniques to unravel the processes of change. In some cases we are even able to draw ‘dialects maps’ from earlier periods. At the end of the course, the student may have at least some idea how to tackle the problems and have some strategies to retrieve useful information from (small) historical corpora.

Day-to-day program

Monday: Historical corpora and the small numbers.

Tuesday: Layers of information: the long way of the text transmission

Wednesday: How to draw a quantity-based picture of linguistic changes?

Thursday: The unraveling of the history of English; or: Runic dialectology

Friday: Mapping historical language data and what it tells us

Reading list

Course readings (obligatory):

The readings are my own publications; that does not mean that there are no other (perhaps even more useful) publications in this field, but it gives me the direct access to the underlying data, which are needed to illustrate the details of the matter.

Lecture 1:

Versloot, Arjen Pieter, en Elżbieta Adamczyk. “Corpus Size and Composition: Evidence from the Inflectional Morphology of Nouns in Old English and Old Frisian”. Rolf H. Bremmer Jr, Stephen Laker, en Oebele Vries (eds.). Amsterdamer Beiträge Zur Älteren Germanistik Directions for Old Frisian Philology, nr. 73 (2014): 539–69.

Lecture 2:

Versloot, Arjen Pieter. “The Riustring Old Frisian -ar Plurals: Borrowed or Inherited?” Michiel de Vaan en Stephen Laker (eds.). Amsterdamer Beiträge Zur Älteren Germanistik: Festschrift Rolf Bremmer 77 (2017): 442–56. https://doi.org/10.1163/18756719-12340084.

Lecture 3:

Versloot, Arjen Pieter. Mechanisms of Language Change: Vowel Reduction in 15th Century West Frisian. Utrecht: LOT, 2008. http://www.lotpublications.nl/mechanisms-of-langua....

Lecture 4:

Damsma, Levi, en Arjen Pieter Versloot. “Vowel Epenthesis in Early Germanic Runic Inscriptions”. Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 6 (2015): 21–64.

Lecture 5:

Versloot, Arjen Pieter. “Historical Dialectology – West Frisian in Seven Centuries”. In Handbook of the Changing World Language Map, Brunn Stanley en Roland Kehrein (eds.). Springer, 2018.

Further readings (optional):


Versloot, Arjen Pieter. “Sprachverlust und Halbsprecher einer sterbenden Sprache: Die Infinitivendungen in der friesischen Sprache des Harlingerlandes”. NOWELE : North-Western European language evolution, 2018.