chapter  1
Pages 11

The orientation of most dialect surveys has largely been diachronic, the discovery of the relationship between the current dialectal type and its historical ancestor. The validity of this approach has rightly been questioned and as a result linguists sought to study dialectal material without any reference to its history and with regard only to its current structural reality. This treatment was no less extreme than the approach which preceded it and there is no doubt that analyses produced by this method do not account in any way convincingly for the variability that is usually, though not invariably, present.