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This book is an introduction to historical linguistics - the study of language change over time. Written in an engaging style and illustrated with examples from a wide range of languages, the book covers the fundamental concepts of language change, methods for historical linguistics, linguistic reconstruction, sociolinguistic aspects of language change, language contact, the birth and death of languages, language and prehistory and the issue of very remote relations. A minimal knowledge of linguistic concepts is needed and the book is suitable for students approaching the subject for the first time. The exercises will be particularly useful to teachers and students alike.