Language change happens in the spatio-temporal world. Historical linguistics is the craft linguists exercise upon its results, in order to tell coherent stories about it. In a series of linked essays Roger Lass offers a critical survey of the foundations of the art of historical linguistics, and its interaction with its subject matter, language change, taking as his background some of the major philosophical issues that arise from these considerations. The paradoxical conclusion is that our historiographical methods are often better than the data they have to work with.
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