Chapter 4. Methods and argumentation in historical linguistics

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The present chapter aims to discuss some properties of historical linguistics argumentation, through the analysis of examples taken from actual research practice. Relying on Kert&#233;sz and R&#225;kosi&#8217;s (2012) <i>p-model</i> of scientific theorizing, it compares three competing accounts of the historical development of the Catalan construction &#8220;<i>anar </i>&#8216;go&#8217; &#43; infinitive&#8221;, namely, those provided in Colon (1979a, b), in Detges (2004) and in Juge (2006). The simultaneous plausibility of some statements and their negations in the starting p-context formed by these three approaches leads to a p-inconsistency, which is eliminated by the extension of the starting p-context and, then, the coordination of the extended p-context. The analysis of historical research practice from a methodological point of view suggests that the development of the Catalan &#8220;<i>anar </i>&#8216;go&#8217; &#43; infinitive&#8221; construction finds the most satisfactory explanation under Juge&#8217;s (2006) proposal, which uses sources, research methods and argumentation techniques traditionally accepted in historical linguistics.


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