Presentation on theme: "Historical linguistics Historical linguistics (also called diachronic linguistics) is the study of language change. Diachronic: The study of linguistic."— Presentation transcript:
Historical linguistics Historical linguistics (also called diachronic linguistics) is the study of language change. Diachronic: The study of linguistic change through history contrasted to Synchronic linguistics: The study of the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of a language at a stated time.
Historical linguistics responds to such questions: What are the principle grammatical differences between Old & Contemporary English?
What does the English language have in common with other Germanic language such as Germanic and Dutch? How did the French language influence the vocabulary of the Old and Middle English?
Which words of the contemporary English lexicon were inherited from the Arabic language?
Historica linguistics has five main concerns: to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages to reconstruct the pre-history of languages and determine their relatedness, grouping them into language families (comparative linguistics)
to develop general theories about how and why language changes to describe the history of speech communities.
Historical linguistics Historic al linguisti cs Languag e Change Reconstr uction/co mparativ e method Speech Commun ity Etymolo gy
Language Change Any treatment of linguistics must address the question of language change. The way languages change offers insights into the nature of language itself and the possible answers to why languages change tell us about the way language is used in society, about how it is acquired by individuals and may reveal to us something about its internal organisation.
Comparative Method Comparative Method: Refers to the practice of comparing forms in two or more languages with a view to discovering regularities of correspondence. A simple instance from English and German concerns /t/ and /s/..
With a series of native words, i.e. not loans, one can see that where English has /t/ German has /s/: water : Wasser, beter: besser, foot:Fuss It is obvious here that English /t/ corresponds to German /s/ in non-initial position. The question which remains is whether the /t/ or the /s/ is original.
Speech Community A speech community is a group of people who share a set of norms and expectations regarding the use of language. to study the history of words, i.e. etymology Etymology: is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time
Modern historical linguistics dates from the late 18th century. It grew out of the earlier discipline of philology: the study of ancient texts and documents i.e. literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning dating back to antiquity.
Antiquity The ancient past, especially the period of classical and other human civilizations before the Middle Ages.
Dialectology The scientific study of linguistic dialect, the varieties of a language that are characteristic of particular groups, based primarily on geographic distribution and their associated features. Dialectologists are concerned with grammatical features that correspond to regional areas.
Phonology Sound change A sub-field of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language or set of languages. Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages
Morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word-formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages, in the context of historical linguistics, how the means of expression change over time
Syntax The study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. The term syntax is used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language
Lexicon The vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge. In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes.
Study Questions What is the difference between diachronic & synchronic studies? What are the main concerns of Historical Linguistics? Define these words: Etymology, Philology and Antiquity