Historical linguistics concerns itself with how the modern languages we speak today came to be the way they are. The book presents, for the first time, a collection of work done in historical linguistics from the perspective of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), a lexical unification-based theory. The problems tackled are representative of the field of historical linguistics in general however, this volumes stands apart through the number and type of languages surveyed. In addition to presenting new approaches to data from much studied languages like Italian and English, the book introduces issues in the diachronic development of less well studied languages, including Pennsylvania Dutch, the South Asian language Urdu/Hindi, and the Australian languages Warlpiri and Warumungu.
The papers in this collection use LFG to examine morphosyntactic diachronic developments in a variety of typologically diverse languages. This perspective allows for a fresh look at phenomena which have been the subject of much attention within historical linguistics: the development or shift of case marking systems, the rise of auxiliaries, the origins of complex predication involving verb particles or light verbs, and the formation of complementizers.