Historical and Comparative Linguistics

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Historical linguistics. besides called Diachronic Linguistics. the subdivision of linguistics concerned with the survey of phonological. grammatical. and semantic alterations. the Reconstruction of earlier phases of linguistic communications. and the find and application of the methods by which familial relationships among linguistic communications can be demonstrated. Harmonizing to dictionary. com. Historical linguistics is the subdivision of linguistics which trades with the history and development of linguistic communications. Besides it can be defined as the subdivision of linguistics that focuses on the interconnectedness between different linguistic communications in the word and. or their historical development.

Historical linguistics had its roots in the etymological guesss of classical and mediaeval times. in the comparative survey of Greek and Latin developed during the Renaissance and in the guesss of bookmans as to the linguistic communication from which the other linguistic communications of the universe were descended.

It was merely in the nineteenth century. nevertheless. that more scientific methods of linguistic communication comparing and sufficient informations on the early Indo-germanic linguistic communications combined to set up the rules now used by historical linguists. Historical linguistics has existed as a scholarly subject for over 200 old ages. Trask. R. L ( 1996 ) and it was the first subdivision of linguistics to be placed on a house terms. none the less. it is of present one of the liveliest and most piquant country of linguistics.

THE HISTORY OF LANGUAGE There are over 5. 000 distinguishable human linguistic communications in the universe. One really basic inquiry is how did they all get at that place? One of the greatest enigmas that has confronted mom has been that of the beginning of a linguistic communication. a subject on which there has been much guess. Many of us are familiar with the narratives in the generation refering the giving of names by a divinity and the diffusion of different tongs following the devastation of the tower of Babel.

At times. theoreticians with an disposition towards experimentation have even gone so far as to seek to animate the conditions which they consider necessary for the beginning of linguistic communication. Herodotus. the Grecian historiographer. tells how the ancient Egyptian male monarch PSametichus raised two kids in complete isolation from human address to see what linguistic communication they would of course talk. Wardhaugh. R ( 1972 ) It’s difficult to conceive of a cultural phenomenon that’s more of import than the development of linguistic communication. And yet no human property offers less conclusive grounds sing its beginnings.

The absence of such grounds surely hasn’t discouraged guess about the beginnings of linguistic communication. Over the centuries. many theories have been put forward–and merely about all of them have been challenged. discounted. and frequently ridiculed. Each theory histories for merely a little portion of what we know about linguistic communication. Different bookmans have been theorizing the beginning of linguistic communication by showing different theories of linguistic communication. The following are the theories ; The Bow-Wow Theory Harmonizing to this theory. linguistic communication began when our ascendants started copying the natural sounds around them.

The first address was onomatopoeic–marked by imitative words such asmoo. mew. splash. fathead. and knock. Weakness of the theory Relatively few words are onomatopoetic. and these words vary from one linguistic communication to another. For case. a dog’s bark is heard as au gold in Brazil. jambon jambon in Albania. and wang. wang in China. In add-on. many onomatopoetic words are of recent beginning. and non all are derived from natural sounds. The Ding-Dong Theory This theory. favored by Plato and Pythagoras. maintains that address arose in response to the indispensable qualities of objects in the environment.

The original sounds people made were purportedly in harmoniousness with the universe around them. Failing of the theory Apart from some rare cases of sound symbolism. there’s no persuasive grounds. in any linguistic communication. of an unconditioned connexion between sound and significance. The La-La Theory The Danish linguist Otto Jespersen suggested that linguistic communication may hold developed from sounds associated with love. drama. and ( particularly ) vocal. Failing of the theory As David Crystal notes in How Language Works ( Penguin. 2005 ) . this theory still fails to account for “the spread between the emotional and the rational facets of address look.

“The Pooh-Pooh Theory This theory holds that address began with interjections–spontaneous calls of hurting ( “Ouch! “ ) . surprise ( “Oh! “ ) . and other emotions ( “Yabba dabba do! “ ) . Weakness of the theory No linguistic communication contains really many ejaculations. and. Crystal points out. “the chinks. consumptions of breath. and other noises which are used in this manner bear small relationship to the vowels and consonants found in phonemics. ” The Yo-He-Ho Theory Harmonizing to this theory. linguistic communication evolved from the oinks. moans. and snickers evoked by heavy physical labour.

Failing of the theory Though this impression may account for some of the rhythmic characteristics of linguistic communication. it doesn’t travel really far in explicating where words come from. As Peter Farb says in Word Play: What Happens When Peoples Talk ( Vintage. 1993 ) . “All these guesss have serious defects. and none can defy the close examination of present cognition about the construction of linguistic communication and about the development of our species. ” But does this mean that all inquiries about the beginning of linguistic communication are unanswerable? Not needfully.

Over the past 20 old ages. bookmans from such diverse Fieldss as genetic sciences. anthropology. and cognitive scientific discipline have been engaged. as Kenneally says. in “a cross-discipline. multidimensional hoarded wealth hunt” to happen out how linguistic communication began. It is. she says. “the hardest job in scientific discipline today. ” LANGUAGE CHANGE All languages alteration over clip and vary from topographic point to topographic point. They may alter as a consequence of societal or political force per unit areas. such as invasion. colonisation and in-migration. New vocabulary is required for the latest innovations. such as conveyance. domestic contraptions and industrial equipment or for featuring. amusement and leisure chases.

But a linguistic communication can besides alter by less obvious agencies. Every consecutive coevals makes its ain little part to linguistic communication alteration and when sufficient clip has elapsed. the impact of these alterations become more obvious. Languages that don’t alteration over clip are considered dead linguistic communications. The fact that English alterations so much show that it is alive every bit good. Because English has changed over clip. talkers of 1500AD would non hold understood on English talker from 500AD or the modern twenty-four hours English. spoken today. The first written English dates back to 450AD.

Overtime it has evolved from the usage of Old English to Middle English. early modern English to show twenty-four hours Modern English. These alterations are direct contemplation of the epoch in which the English was spoken and the modern twenty-four hours engineering available. Eg.

The simple look Dude in 1880. described a adult male who went somewhat overboard with his manner and today the look has become portion of the teenage vocabulary as a manner to demo exhilaration. |Changes impacting Old English | |Old English |Middle English |Modern English |Word | | [ Ba? t ] | [ B? ? : T ] | [ bowt ] |Boat | | [ a: ? ] | [ ? ? : ? ] | [ ow? ] |Oath | | [ sta: n ] | [ st? ? : n ] | [ stown ] |Stone | Cf ; O’Gradly & A ; Archibald ( 2000 )

The Indo-germanic languages The linguistic communication household to which English belongs is sometimes known as the Indo-germanic group. a description which indicates the geographical spread of the linguistic communications in this household over a long historical period. One convenient manner to stand for the long-run alteration as new linguistic communications arise out of paradigm or “parent” linguistic communications is to utilize a diagram like a household tree or family tree. This sort of diagram is helpful so long as you are cognizant of its restrictions.

For illustration. it might take you to say that new linguistic communications appear in a definite manner. to which we can delegate a day of the month ( as with the birth of a kid ) . But this is ne’er the instance ( except with invented linguistic communications. like Klingon ) . Language alteration does non happen at the same rate in all topographic points. Thus the linguistic communication of the fourteenth century writer of Pearl and Gawain and the Green Knight has many characteristics we find in Old English. while Chaucer. composing at more or less the same clip. uses a assortment ( or assortments ) of written English which are far closer to the signifiers we use today.

This may be associated with a north-south divide. though we know excessively small to asseverate this with any great assurance. CAUSES OF LANGUAGE CHANGE The inevitableness of linguistic communication alteration is guaranteed by the manner in which linguistic communication is passed on from one coevals to the following.

So during the usage of the linguistic communication between persons is when linguistic communication can undergo alterations because. everyone has his or her ain manner of utilizing a linguistic communication. Harmonizing to O’Grady. W. & A ; Archibald. ( 2000 ) the following are causes of linguistic communication alteration. 1 ) . Language contact Language contact refers to the state of affairs where talkers often interact with the talker of another linguistic communication or idiom.

Borrowing of words and buildings from foreign linguistic communications affected English linguistic communication. Among the effects that borrowing can hold on the sound system are the debut of new phonemes or allophones and alterations in their distribution. For illustration. some English talkers pronounce the name of the classical composer Bach with the concluding velar continuant [ x ] found in the German pronunciation. If there is a important figure of adoptions from the early Middle English period. the London idiom had [ f ] but non [ V ] in word-initial place.

The [ V ] was subsequently introduced as a consequence of contact with other English idioms. This contact was a factor in the development of a contrast between [ f ] and [ v ] word-initially. as found in modern English braces such as file and vile. 2 ) . Articulatory Simplification As might be expected. the most alterations have a physiological footing. Since such sound alterations typically result in articulative simplification. they have traditionally been related to the thought easiness of articulation. articulative simplification involves. omission of a consonant in a complex bunch. or in some idioms the interpolation of a vowel to interrupt up a complex bunch.

Refer to the undermentioned illustrations ; Physiological footing = “ease” of pronunciation Consonant omission: apparels klo? ? ? omega & gt ; klo? omega fifth fif? s & gt ; fifs 3 ) . Spelling Pronunciation Not all alterations in pronunciation have physiological motive. A minor. however of import beginning of alteration in English and other linguistic communication is spelling pronunciation.

Since the written signifier of a word ca differ significantly from the manner it is pronounced. a new pronunciation can originate that seems to reflect more closely the spelling of the word. the instance is demonstrated as follows ; – frequently & gt ; ? ft? n & gt ; ? fn & gt ; ? ft? n Although this word was pronounced with a [ T ] in earlier English. the voiceless halt was later lost resulting in the pronunciation [ ? fan ] . nevertheless. since the missive T was retained in the spelling. [ t ] has been reintroduced into many speakers’ pronunciation of this word.

4 ) . Analogy and Reanalysis Analogy: reflects penchant of talkers of regular over irregular forms. extension/generalization of a regularity.

Bases on illation of talkers: elements likewise in regard A must be likewise in regard B Example ; – sting- stung & gt ; convey – brung Analogy has big function in morphological alteration. Reanalysis: common in morphological alteration root + affix is mapped onto word that is originally non analyzable beefburger & gt ; fishburger… even as free morpheme. Burger TYPES OF LANGUAGE CHANGE All languages change invariably. and do so in many and varied ways.

Harmonizing to Marcel. C. ( 1975 ) . Details assorted types of linguistic communication alteration under the overall headers of the external development and internal development of linguistic communications as follows ; Lexical alterations. The on-going inflow of new words in the English linguistic communication ( for illustration ) helps do it a rich field for probe into linguistic communication alteration. despite the trouble of specifying exactly and accurately the vocabulary available to talkers of English.

Throughout its history English has non merely borrowed words from other linguistic communications but has re-combined and recycled them to make new significances. whilst losing some old words. Lass. R. ( 1997 ) . Dictionary-writers try to maintain path of the alterations in linguistic communications by entering ( and. ideally. dating ) the visual aspect in a linguistic communication of new words. or of new uses for bing words.

By the same item. they may label some words as “archaic” or “obsolete” . Phonetic and phonological alterations The construct of sound alteration covers both phonic and phonological developments. The sociolinguist Labov. W. ( 2001 ) .

In 1963 recorded the alteration in pronunciation in a comparatively short period in the American resort of Martha’s Vineyard and showed how this resulted from societal tensenesss and procedures Even in the comparatively short clip that broadcast media have recorded their work. one can detect the difference between the pronunciation of the news readers of the 1940s and the 1950s and the pronunciation of today.

Semantic alteration In semantics and historical linguistics. any alteration in the significance ( s ) of a word over the class of clip. Common types of semantic alteration ( besides called semantic displacement ) include betterment. pejoration. widening. semantic narrowing. bleaching. metaphor. and metonymy. Semantic alteration may besides happen when native talkers of another linguistic communication adopt English looks and use them to activities or conditions in their ain societal and cultural environment.

Campbell. L. ( 2004 ) . ? pejoration. in which a term acquires a negative association? betterment. in which a term acquires a positive association? widening. in which a term acquires a broader significance? contracting. in which a term acquires a narrower significance Spelling alterations Standardization of spelling originated comparatively late. Differences in spelling frequently catch the oculus of a reader of a text from a old century.

The pre-print epoch had fewer literate people: linguistic communications lacked fixed systems of writing system. and the handwritten manuscripts that survive frequently show words spelled harmonizing to regional pronunciation and to personal penchant.

Comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics. once Comparative Grammar. or Comparative Philology. survey of the relationships or correspondences between two or more linguistic communications and the techniques used to detect whether the linguistic communications have a common ascendant. Comparative grammar was the most of import subdivision of linguistics in the nineteenth century in Europe. Besides called comparative linguistics. the survey was originally stimulated by the find by Sir William Jones in 1786 that Sanskrit was related to Latin. Greek. and German.

Anttila. R. ( 1989 ) An premise of import to the comparative method is the Neogrammarian rule that the Torahs regulating sound alteration are regular and have no exclusions that can non be accounted for by some other regular phenomenon of linguistic communication. Richard. D. J. & A ; Brian D ( 2004 ) . As an illustration of the method. English is seen to be related to Italian if a figure of words that have the same significance and that have non been borrowed are compared: piede and “foot. ” military chaplain and “father. ” pesce and “fish.

”The initial sounds. although different. correspond on a regular basis harmonizing to the form discovered by Jacob Grimm and named Grimm’s jurisprudence after him ; the other differences can be explained by other regular sound alterations. Because regular correspondences between English and Italian are far excessively legion to be coinciding. it becomes evident that English and Italian root from the same parent linguistic communication. The comparative method was developed and used successfully in the nineteenth century to retrace this parent linguistic communication. Proto-Indo-European. and has since been applied to the survey of other linguistic communication households.

Familial relatedness implies a common beginning or proto-language. and comparative linguistics purposes to build linguistic communication households. toreconstruct proto-languages and stipulate the alterations that haveresulted in the documented linguistic communications. In order to keep a cleardistinction between attested and reconstructed signifiers. comparative linguists prefix an star to any signifier that is non found in lasting texts.

THE GREAT VOWEL SHIFT The Great Vowel Shift was a monolithic sound alteration impacting the long vowels of English during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. Basically. the long vowels shifted upwards ; that is. a vowel that used to be pronounced in one topographic point in the oral cavity would be pronounced in a different topographic point. higher up in the oral cavity.

The Great Vowel Shift has had long-run deductions for. among other things. writing system. the instruction of reading. and the apprehension of any English-language text written before or during the Shift. When we talk about the GVS. we normally talk about it go oning in eight stairss. It is really of import to retrieve. nevertheless. that each measure did non go on overnight. Dennis. F. ( 1992 ) . At any given clip. people of different ages and from different parts would hold different pronunciations of the same word.

Older. more conservative talkers would retain one pronunciation while younger. more advanced talkers were traveling to a new one ; some people would be able to articulate the same word two or more different ways. The same thing happens today. of class: I can articulate the word “route” to rime with “boot” or with “out” and may exchange from one pronunciation to another in the thick of a conversation. The undermentioned illustration below shows how the vowels shifted from one point of articulation to another with respect to the peculiar clip of the displacement. [ movie ]


Therefore. the historical and comperative linguistics give us the overview of the linguistic communications of the universe. much on the Indo- European household. From this we get to cognize how the linguistic communication we use today. particularly English developed from the ancient clip to the present. Besides it shows the way of the linguistic communication alteration which is really of import for the anticipation of linguistic communication state of affairs in the hereafter. Mentions Trask. R. L ( 1996 ) . Historical Linguistics ; Oxford University Press. New York O’Grady. W & A ; Archibald. J ( 2000 ) Contemporary Linguistic Analysis. An Introduction. 4th Ed.

Addison Wesley. Longman. Toronto Wardhaugh. R. ( 1972 ) . Introduction to Linguistics. McGraw-Hill Inc. New York Millward. C. M. ( 1996 ) . A Biography of the English Language. 2nd erectile dysfunction. Harcourt Brace. Fort Worth. Campbell. L. ( 2004 ) . Campbell. Lyle. 1999. Historical linguistics: An Introduction. Cambridge. Mass: MIT Press. London Richard. D. J. & A ; Brian D. ( 2004 ) . The Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Blackwell Anttila. R. ( 1989 ) Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Benjamins Lass. R. ( 1997 ) . Historial linguistics and linguistic communication alteration. Cambridge University Press. London.

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