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This work discusses many optimization and linguistic issues in great detail. It treats the history of a variety of languages, including English, French, Germanic, Galician/ Portuguese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish and shows that the application of Optimality Theory allows for innovative and improved analyses. It contains a complete bibliography on OT and language change. It is of interest to historical linguists, researchers into OT and linguistic theory, and phonologists and syntacticians with an interest in historical change.