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Germanic Parent Language
In historical linguistics, the Germanic parent language (GPL) includes the reconstructed languages in the Germanic group referred to as Pre-Germanic Indo-European (PreGmc), Early Proto-Germanic (EPGmc), and Late Proto-Germanic (LPGmc), spoken in the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE. The less precise term ''Germanic'', which appears in etymologies, dictionaries, etc., loosely refers to a language spoken in the 1st millennium CE, proposedly at that time developing into the group of Germanic languages—a stricter term for that same proposition, but with an alternative chronography, is ''Proto-Germanic language''. As an identifiable neologism, ''Germanic parent language'' appears to have been first used by Frans Van Coetsem in 1994. It also makes appearances in the works of Elzbieta Adamczyk, Jonathan Slocum, and Winfred P. Lehmann. Absolute chronology Several historical linguists have pointed towards the apparent material and social continuity connecting the cultures of the Nordic Bronz ...
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Historical Linguistics
Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages # to reconstruct the pre-history of languages and to 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 # to study the history of words, i.e. etymology Historical linguistics is founded on the Uniformitarian Principle, which is defined by linguist Donald Ringe as: History and development Western 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 dating back to antiquity. At first, historical linguistics served as the cornerstone of comparative linguistics, primarily as a t ...
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Proto-Indo-European Language
Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed features have been derived by linguistic reconstruction from documented Indo-European languages. No direct record of Proto-Indo-European exists. Far more work has gone into reconstructing PIE than any other proto-language, and it is the best understood of all proto-languages of its age. The majority of linguistic work during the 19th century was devoted to the reconstruction of PIE or its daughter languages, and many of the modern techniques of linguistic reconstruction (such as the comparative method) were developed as a result. PIE is hypothesized to have been spoken as a single language from 4500 BC to 2500 BC during the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, though estimates vary by more than a thousand years. According to the prevailing Kurgan hypothesis, the original homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans may have been in the Pontic–Caspian steppe of ...
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Internal Reconstruction
Internal reconstruction is a method of reconstructing an earlier state in a language's history using only language-internal evidence of the language in question. The comparative method compares variations between languages, such as in sets of cognates, under the assumption that they descend from a single proto-language, but internal reconstruction compares variant forms within a single language under the assumption that they descend from a single, regular form. For example, they could take the form of allomorphs of the same morpheme. The basic premise of internal reconstruction is that a meaning-bearing element that alternates between two or more similar forms in different environments was probably once a single form into which alternation has been introduced by the usual mechanisms of sound change and analogy. Language forms that are reconstructed by internal reconstruction are denoted with the ''pre-'' prefix, as in Pre-Old Japanese, like the use of ''proto-'' to indicate a ...
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Proto-Indo-Iranian Language
Proto-Indo-Iranian, also Proto-Indo-Iranic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian/Indo-Iranic branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are often connected with the Sintashta culture of the Eurasian Steppe and the early Andronovo archaeological horizon. Proto-Indo-Iranian was a satem language, likely removed less than a millennium from its ancestor, the late Proto-Indo-European language, and in turn removed less than a millennium from the Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit of the Rigveda, its descendants. Proto-Indo-Iranian has been considered to form a subgroup along with Greek, Armenian and Phrygian on the basis of many striking similarities in the morphological structure. However, this issue remains unsettled.Fortson, p. 203 It is the ancestor of the Indo-Aryan languages, the Iranian languages, and the Nuristani languages. Descriptive phonology In addition t ...
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Tocharian Languages
The Tocharian (sometimes ''Tokharian'') languages ( or ), also known as ''Arśi-Kuči'', Agnean-Kuchean or Kuchean-Agnean, are an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family spoken by inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, the Tocharians. The languages are known from manuscripts dating from the 5th to the 8th century AD, which were found in oasis cities on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (now part of Xinjiang in Northwest China) and the Lop Desert. The discovery of these languages in the early 20th century contradicted the formerly prevalent idea of an east–west division of the Indo-European language family as centum and satem languages, and prompted reinvigorated study of the Indo-European family. Scholars studying these manuscripts in the early 20th century identified their authors with the ''Tokharoi'', a name used in ancient sources for people of Bactria ( Tokharistan). Although this identification is now believed to be mistaken, "Tocharian" remains the usual term ...
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Proto-Celtic Language
Proto-Celtic, or Common Celtic, is the ancestral proto-language of all known Celtic languages, and a descendant of Proto-Indo-European. It is not attested in writing but has been partly reconstructed through the comparative method. Proto-Celtic is generally thought to have been spoken between 1300 and 800 BC, after which it began to split into different languages. Proto-Celtic is often associated with the Urnfield culture and particularly with the Hallstatt culture. Celtic languages share common features with Italic languages that are not found in other branches of Indo-European, suggesting the possibility of an earlier Italo-Celtic linguistic unity. Proto-Celtic is currently being reconstructed through the comparative method by relying on later Celtic languages. Though Continental Celtic presents much substantiation for Proto-Celtic phonology, and some for its morphology, recorded material is too scanty to allow a secure reconstruction of syntax, though some complete sente ...
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Italic Languages
The Italic languages form a branch of the Indo-European language family, whose earliest known members were spoken on the Italian Peninsula in the first millennium BC. The most important of the ancient languages was Latin, the official language of ancient Rome, which conquered the other Italic peoples before the common era. The other Italic languages became extinct in the first centuries AD as their speakers were assimilated into the Roman Empire and shifted to some form of Latin. Between the third and eighth centuries AD, Vulgar Latin (perhaps influenced by language shift from the other Italic languages) diversified into the Romance languages, which are the only Italic languages natively spoken today, while Literary Latin also survived. Besides Latin, the known ancient Italic languages are Faliscan (the closest to Latin), Umbrian and Oscan (or Osco-Umbrian), and South Picene. Other Indo-European languages once spoken in the peninsula whose inclusion in the Italic branch is d ...
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Proto-Greek Language
The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language which was the last common ancestor of all varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean Greek, the subsequent ancient Greek dialects (i.e., Attic, Ionic, Aeolic, Doric, Arcadocypriot, and ancient Macedonian—either a dialect or a closely related Hellenic language) and, ultimately, Koine, Byzantine and Modern Greek (along with its variants). Proto-Greek speakers entered Greece sometime between 2200 and 1900 BCE, with the diversification into a southern and a northern group beginning by approximately 1700 BCE. Origins Proto-Greek emerged from the diversification of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE), the last phase of which gave rise to the later language families occurred BCE. Pre-Proto-Greek, the Indo-European dialect from which Proto-Greek originated, emerged BCE in an area which bordered pre- Proto-Indo-Iranian to the east and pre- Proto-Armenian and pre-Proto- Phrygian to the w ...
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Osthoff's Law
Osthoff's law is an Indo-European sound law which states that long vowels shorten when followed by a resonant (Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) *''m'', *''n'', *''l'', *''r'', *''y'', *''w''), followed in turn by another consonant (i.e. in a closed syllable environment). It is named after German Indo-Europeanist Hermann Osthoff, who first formulated it. Overview The law operated in most of the Proto-Indo-European daughter languages, with notable exceptions being the Indo-Iranian and Tocharian branches in which the difference between long and short PIE diphthongs was clearly preserved. Compare: * PIE ''*dyēws'' "skyling, sky god" > Vedic Sanskrit ''dyā́us'', but Ancient Greek , with an ordinary diphthong. The term ''Osthoff's law'' is usually properly applied to the described phenomenon in Ancient Greek, which itself was an independent innovation from similar developments occurring in Latin and other Indo-European languages. However, the term is often used loosely as a cov ...
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Laryngeal Theory
The laryngeal theory is a theory in the historical linguistics of the Indo-European languages positing that: * The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) had a series of phonemes beyond those reconstructable by the comparative method. That is, the theory maintains that there were sounds in Proto-Indo-European that no longer exist in any of the daughter languages, and thus, cannot be reconstructed merely by comparing sounds among those daughter languages. * These phonemes, according to the most accepted variant of the theory, were laryngeal consonants of an indeterminate place of articulation towards the back of the mouth. The theory aims to: * Produce greater regularity in the reconstruction of PIE phonology than from the reconstruction that is produced by the comparative method. * Extend the general occurrence of the Indo-European ablaut to syllables with reconstructed vowel phonemes other than *e or *o. In its earlier form ( see below), the theory proposed two sounds in PIE ...
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Proto-Germanic
Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. Proto-Germanic eventually developed from pre-Proto-Germanic into three Germanic branches during the fifth century BC to fifth century AD: West Germanic, East Germanic and North Germanic, which however remained in contact over a considerable time, especially the Ingvaeonic languages (including English), which arose from West Germanic dialects and remained in continued contact with North Germanic. A defining feature of Proto-Germanic is the completion of the process described by Grimm's law, a set of sound changes that occurred between its status as a dialect of Proto-Indo-European and its gradual divergence into a separate language. As it is probable that the development of this sound shift spanned a considerable time (several centuries), Proto-Germanic cannot adequately be reconstructed as a simple node in a tree mode ...
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Verner's Law
Verner's law describes a historical sound change in the Proto-Germanic language whereby consonants that would usually have been the voiceless fricatives , , , , , following an unstressed syllable, became the voiced fricatives , , , , . The law was formulated by Karl Verner, and first published in 1877. Problem A seminal insight into how the Germanic languages diverged from their Indo-European ancestor had been established in the early nineteenth century, and had been formulated as Grimm's law. Amongst other things, Grimm's law described how the Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops ', ', ', and regularly changed into Proto-Germanic ( bilabial fricative ), (dental fricative ), (velar fricative ), and (velar fricative ). However, there appeared to be a large set of words in which the agreement of Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Baltic, Slavic etc. guaranteed Proto-Indo-European ', ' or ', and yet the Germanic reflex was not the expected, unvoiced fricatives , , , but rather ...
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