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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Faculty and Staff Directory

Dorothy Disterheft

Associate Professor
Department of English Language and Literature

Phone Number: (803) 576-5988
Office: HUO 211
Curriculum vitae: Download PDF


PhD, UCLA, 1977

Areas of Specialization 

   Theory of language change
   Historical syntax
   Historical phonology
   Indo-European linguistics, culture, religion, and prehistory
   Old and Middle Irish syntax
   Contemporary English grammar

Recently Taught Courses 

ENGL 450/LING 421    English Grammar
ENGL 453/LING 431    Development of the English Language
LING 530                  Language Change
LING 730                  Historical Linguistics

Current Research Projects 

I am finishing a long-term book project on the development of infinitival subordination in early Irish. It is based upon data collected from all available edited manuscripts of Old and Middle Irish (roughly 650-1200 CE). It incorporates several themes which I have been exploring for some time: what do speakers think they are doing as they introduce linguistic innovations? How do such innovations show up in texts? What are the limits of language - specifically syntactic - change?

Selected Publications 

   The Syntactic Development of the Infinitive in Indo-European. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Press. 220 pages (1980).
   Studies in Honor of Jaan Puhvel, Part One: Ancient Languages and Philology, edited with Martin Huld and John Greppin. Washington D.C: Institute for the Study of Man. (Indo-European Studies Monograph, vol. 20) 250 pages (1997).
   Advanced grammar: A manual for students. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. 480 pages (2003).
   Chapter, "Subordination" (with Carlotta Viti). Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics, edited by Silvia Luraghi and Vit Bubenik. London/New York Continuum (to appear, 2010).

   "Purpose and consecutive in Irish." ériu 36.107-23 (1985).
   "The structure and diachrony of consecutives." Diachronica 3.1-14 (1986).
   "The diachronic relationship of morphology and syntax." Papers from the Seventh International Conference on Historical Linguistics, ed. by A.Giacalone Ramat, O. Carruba and G. Bernini, 211-20. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (1987).
   "The role of adaptive rules in language change." Diachronica 7:181-98 (1990).
   "Parameter resetting." Historical Linguistics 1991, ed. by Jaap van Marle, 87-97. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins (1993).

Other Information 

LING 600: Survey of Linguistics, LING 711: Introduction to Phonology, LING 712: Phonological Theory, LING 720: Introduction to Syntax, LING 725/ENGL 783: Applied English Syntax, LING 739: History of Linguistics, ENGL 100: Basic Writing, ENGL 295: Introduction to Human Language. ENGL 389/LING 301: The English Language, ENGL 399: Old Irish, ENGL 452: Vocabulary and Semantics, SCCC 455: Child Language Acquisition.