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Historical Linguistics

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Linguistics"— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Linguistics

2 Historical Lingustics
Definition: the study of how languages change over time.

3 Reasons for Language Change
The nature of society geography and isolation of groups, invention/discovery of new things, imperfect learning, and social status. Example: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts Move to lower socioeconomic status to show membership in year-round resident group Example: Children learn imperfectly and transmit their errors to younger children.

4 Reasons for Language Change
The nature of language ease of articulation, analogy, and metaphor Example: Metaphors eventually change the meaning of words into their metaphorical meaning (arms (on the body) to arms (weapons) and brazo (arm) to braceros (laborers))

5 Language Change Occurs in
Phonetics Phonemics Morphology Syntax Semantics

6 Regular sound shifts that occur over time in many languages
Phonetic Changes Regular sound shifts that occur over time in many languages Grimm’s Law (1822) bh b b p p f dh d d t t th gh g g k k x Voiced voiced voiced voiceless voiceless voiceless aspirated plosive plosive plosive plosive aspirated EG. Latin English pater father p-f, t-th piscis fish p-f tres three t-th

7 Verner’s Law When the stress/accent falls on the root syllable of the word, Grimm’s law works; when it does not, then Verner’s Law works: p b t d k g

8 Assimilation – one sound influenced by the pronunciation of a neighboring sound. (Don’t be silly – Dombe silly) Dissimilaton – when the same consonant sound appears close together, one will disappear (surprise – supprise, governor – govenor) Haplology – the loss of one of two repetitive syllables (probably – probly, Anglaland – England) Loss – a sound disappears – Old English eahta (8) Prothesis – introduction of an extra sound at the beginning of a word – Latin scola to Spanish escuela. Apocope – the loss of final sounds – Old English helpe to help. Etc……… Types of Sound Change

9 Types of Morphological Change
Analogy – irregular forms change to conform to regular patterns – helpan, healp, holpen to help, helped, helped Gender changes – Early Indo European masculine, feminine and neuter to French - masculine and feminine Dutch - common and neuter English - none German and Greek – masculine, feminine and neuter

10 Types of Semantic Change
Lexical history (etymology) Borrowing - French from English - weekend, parking Loan Translation - German from English – telephone to ferensprecher fern=distant, sprecher=speaker Obsolescence - Concept no longer useful – English telex Extension - A word widens its meaning – Latin virtue is a male quality, English is used for both males and females Amelioration – loss of negative connotation, English mischievous used to mean disastrous

11 Reconstructing Past Languages
Contemporary accounts – writings by authors who described language at the time Poetic evidence – rhyming Alphabetic evidence – alphabets had added symbols for sounds Comparative reconstruction based on families of languages In future – tape recordings and video recordings.

12 Reconstruction of Proto Indo European - Romance

13 Reconstruction of Proto Indo European (Germanic)

14 Patterns of Language Change
Change from above – attempts to rise in status Change from below – using language as an indication of membership in a particular group

15 S-shaped curve – slow beginning, rapid center, slow ending

16 Wave Model – movement through social and geographical space.

17 Language Families Two kinds of family trees :
Morphological – from the grammar of the languages Genetic – from historical documentation of how languages evolved

18 Study Guide Historical Linguistics Loan translation
Geogrphical isolation Obsolescence extension Culural invention/discovery Amelioration Imperfect learning Contemporary accounts Status differences Poetic evidence Grimm’s Law Alphabetic evidence Verner’s Law Comparative reconstruction Assimilation Tape and video recordings Dissimilaton Proto Indo European Haplology Loss Change from above Prothesis Change from below Apocope S-shaped curve Analogy Wave model Gender changes Morphological language Borrowing families Genetic language families

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