There is a broad consensus that all languages change. But exactly what processes drive and curtail this process continues to be the subject of debate.
Language change has been one of the central themes that has run through much of my research to date. I am interested in the ways in which languages change over time and space. I am also interested in the ways in which languages do not change as I think this will provide us with crucial insights into the interaction between processes of language change and universal constrains on human language.
My British Academy-funded postdoctoral project examines processes of language change through the lens of a subset of Bantu languages spoken in Tanzania and Kenya. It draws on data from these six languages – which are united by the presence of an ‘unusual’ word order – and explores to what extent they exhibit other features which may be indicative of processes of contact-induced language change.