The papers reunited in this collection explore the possibility of extrapolating change within synchronic data from Contemporary Portuguese, investigating the potential of a predictive historical linguistics. They provide indications as to the future development of the grammar(s) of the world language Portuguese in the 21st century. The results from these papers indicate that in order to achieve this aim, exploitation of a wide range of methods developed in sociolinguistics (apparent time), psycholinguistics (experimental approaches) and comparative typology (extrapolation of change from dialectal comparison) is necessary. The papers brought together in this special issue cover ongoing and possible future changes in a wide range of domains: the functional lexicon, phonetics and phonology, the pronominal system, impersonal and existential constructions, temporal semantics, and the syntax and semantics of subordinate clauses. This includes the documentation of phenomena that have not yet received much attention (or any attention at all), such as the intensifier bué in some African varieties and existential estar com-constructions in Brazilian Portuguese, among others. The results show a diversity of possible outcomes, such as scenarios that lead to leveling of contact-induced variation, divergence between varieties and putative grammaticalization cycles.
Malte Rosemeyer, Freie Universität Berlin
Albert Wall, University of Vienna