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The Changing Languages of Europe Paperback – August 24, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0199297344 ISBN-10: 0199297347

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199297347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199297344
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,466,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This excellent monograph offers an insightful study in which European languages have influenced each other in their grammar...[a] richly documented and convinvingly argued book. Edith Moravcsik, Studies in Language

About the Author

Bernd Heine is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the Institute of African Studies, University of Cologne. His 33 books include Auxiliaries: Cognitive forces and grammaticalization (O.U.P. U.S.A., 1993); Cognitive Foundations of Grammar (O.U.P. U.S.A., 1997); Possession: Cognitive sources, forces, and grammaticalization (C.U.P., 1997); and, with Derek Nurse, African Languages: An introduction (C.U.P., 2000). Tania Kuteva is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Dusseldorf and author of Auxiliation: An enquiry into the nature of grammaticalization (O.U.P., 2001). Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva are the joint authors of World Lexicon of Grammaticalization (C.U.P., 2002) and Language Contact and Grammatical Change (C.U.P., 2005).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Even those with little training in linguistics have remarked that the languages of Europe show some striking similarities, such as the use of "have" plus a participle to form the perfect tense. In THE CHANGING LANGUAGES OF EUROPE Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva convincingly argue that these similarities are due not to coincidence or parallel development (= "drift"), but to a series of language contacts radiating outwards from various centres in Western Europe over the last two thousand years.

Two substantial introductory chapters open the book. In "Europe as a Linguistic Area" the authors describe previous research positing a European sprachbund, with certain languages lumped together in one theory and a different set in another. The second chapter is an introduction to the process of grammaticalization, showing how language contact-based innovations begin as small tendencies in an individual's speech (use patterns) that may eventually become integral features of the whole language.

There are four changes that have appeared in many European languages and, the authors argue, are due to language contact: the rise of articles, the rise of possessive perfects, the merging of comitative and instrumental forms, and the use of question words as relative pronouns in subordinate clauses. Using textual evidence, the authors show how these new features gradually spreading throughout European. Documentary evidence makes it very clear that the disappearance of the synthetic preterite and its replacement in this function by the analytic perfect began in Parisian French in the 12th century, had spread into Germany a century later, and then hit northern Italian dialects by the end of the sixteenth century.
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