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During several decades, syntactic reconstruction has been more or less regarded as a bootless and an unsuccessful venture, not least due to the heavy criticism in the 1970s from scholars like Watkins, Jeffers, Lightfoot, etc. This fallacious view culminated in Lightfoot’s (2002: 625) conclusion: “[i]f somebody thinks that they can reconstruct grammars more successfully and in more widespread fashion, let them tell us their methods and show us their results. Then we’ll eat the pudding.” This volume provides methods for the identification of i) cognates in syntax, and ii) the directionality of syntactic change, showcasing the results in the introduction and eight articles. These examples are offered as both tastier and also more nourishing than the pudding Lightfoot had in mind when discarding the viability of reconstructing syntax.
A Critical Perspective on Cognitive Grammaticalization Theory
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In Preterit Expansion and Perfect Demise in Porteño Spanish and Beyond, Guro Nore Fløgstad offers an original account of the way in which the Preterit category has expanded, at the expense of the Perfect, in Porteño Spanish – a variety spoken in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Through primary sources and a large cross-linguistic sample, Fløgstad convincingly shows that the expansion of a Preterit is not rare in the languages of the world. This finding challenges the prevailing view in historical morphosyntax, and especially in usage-based grammaticalization theory, namely the alleged preference for analytic over synthetic forms, and the possibility of prediction based on the source meaning in grammaticalization.

This book is fully available in Open Access.