historical linguistics
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Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of
language change Language change is variation over time in a language's features. It is studied in several subfields of linguistics: historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and evolutionary linguistics. Traditional theories of historical linguistics identify ...
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 A language family is a group of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate ...
(
comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
) # 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 Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
Historical linguistics is founded on the Uniformitarian Principle, which is defined by linguist
Donald Ringe Donald "Don" Ringe () is an American linguist Linguistics is the science, scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects ...
as:


History and development

Western modern historical
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...
dates from the late-18th century. It grew out of the earlier discipline of
philology Philology () is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is also defin ...
, the study of ancient texts and documents dating back to antiquity. At first, historical linguistics served as the cornerstone of
comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
, primarily as a tool for
linguistic reconstruction Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an Attested language, unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: * Internal reconstruction uses irregularities in a ...
."Editors' Introduction: Foundations of the new historical linguistics." In
''The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics''
Routledge, 2015, p. 25.
Scholars were concerned chiefly with establishing language families and reconstructing unrecorded
proto-languages In the tree model In historical linguistics, the tree model (also Stammbaum, genetic, or cladistic model) is a model of the evolution of languages analogous to the concept of a family tree, particularly a phylogenetic tree in the biological ev ...
, using the
comparative method In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with genetic relationship (linguistics), common descent from a shared ancesto ...
and
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 co ...
. The focus was initially on the well-known
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
, many of which had long written histories; scholars also studied the
Uralic languages The Uralic languages (; sometimes called Uralian languages ) form a language family of 38 languages spoken by approximately 25million people, predominantly in Northern Eurasia. The Uralic languages with the most native speakers are Hungarian lan ...
, another Eurasian language-family for which less early written material exists. Since then, there has been significant comparative linguistic work expanding outside of European languages as well, such as on the Austronesian languages and on various families of
Native American languages Over a thousand indigenous languages are spoken by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. These languages cannot all be demonstrated to be related to each other and are classified into a hundred or so language family, language families (includ ...
, among many others. Comparative linguistics became only a part of a more broadly-conceived discipline of historical linguistics. For the Indo-European languages, comparative study is now a highly specialized field. Some scholars have undertaken studies attempting to establish super-families, linking, for example, Indo-European, Uralic, and other families into
Nostratic Nostratic is a controversial hypothetical macrofamily In historical linguistics, a macrofamily, also called a superfamily or phylum, is a proposed genetic relationship grouping together language families (also Language isolate, isolates) in a la ...
. These attempts have not met with wide acceptance. The information necessary to establish relatedness becomes less available as the time increases. The time-depth of linguistic methods is limited due to chance word resemblances and variations between language groups, but a limit of around 10,000 years is often assumed. The dating of the various proto-languages is also difficult; several methods are available for dating, but only approximate results can be obtained.


Diachronic and synchronic analysis

In linguistics, a synchronic analysis is one that views linguistic phenomena only at a given time, usually the present, but a synchronic analysis of a historical language form is also possible. It may be distinguished from diachronic, which regards a phenomenon in terms of developments through time. Diachronic analysis is the main concern of historical linguistics. However, most other branches of linguistics are concerned with some form of synchronic analysis. The study of language change offers a valuable insight into the state of linguistic representation, and because all synchronic forms are the result of historically-evolving diachronic changes, the ability to explain linguistic constructions necessitates a focus on diachronic processes. Initially, all of modern linguistics was historical in orientation. Even the study of modern dialects involved looking at their origins.
Ferdinand de Saussure Ferdinand de Saussure (; ; 26 November 1857 – 22 February 1913) was a Swiss Linguistics, linguist, Semiotics, semiotician and philosopher. His ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in both linguistics and semiotics in the 2 ...
's distinction between
synchronic Synchronic may refer to: *Synchronic (film), ''Synchronic'' (film), a 2019 American science fiction film starring Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie *Synchronic analysis, the analysis of a language at a specific point of time *Synchronicity, the expe ...
and diachronic linguistics is fundamental to the present day organization of the discipline. Primacy is accorded to synchronic linguistics, and diachronic linguistics is defined as the study of successive synchronic stages. Saussure's clear demarcation, however, has had both defenders and critics. In practice, a purely-synchronic linguistics is not possible for any period before the invention of the
gramophone A phonograph, in its later forms also called a gramophone (as a trademark since 1887, as a generic name in the UK since 1910) or since the 1940s called a record player, or more recently a turntable, is a device for the mechanical and analogu ...
, as written records always lag behind speech in reflecting linguistic developments. Written records are difficult to date accurately before the development of the modern
title page The title page of a book, thesis or other written work is the page at or near the front which displays its title (publishing), title, subtitle, author, publisher, and edition, often artistically decorated. (A half title, by contrast, displays onl ...
. Often, dating must rely on contextual historical evidence such as inscriptions, or modern technology, such as
carbon dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was ...
, can be used to ascertain dates of varying accuracy. Also, the work of
sociolinguists Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any or all aspects of society, including cultural norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. It can overlap with the sociology ...
on linguistic variation has shown synchronic states are not uniform: the speech habits of older and younger speakers differ in ways that point to language change. Synchronic variation is linguistic change in progress. Synchronic and diachronic approaches can reach quite different conclusions. For example, a
Germanic strong verb In the Germanic languages, a strong verb is a verb that marks its past tense by means of changes to the stem vowel (Indo-European ablaut, ablaut). The majority of the remaining verbs form the past tense by means of a dental consonant, dental suffi ...
like English ''sing – sang – sung'' is irregular when it is viewed synchronically: the native speaker's brain processes them as learned forms, but the derived forms of regular verbs are processed quite differently, by the application of productive rules (for example, adding ''-ed'' to the basic form of a verb as in ''walk – walked''). That is an insight of
psycholinguistics Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the interrelation between linguistic factors and psychological aspects. The discipline is mainly concerned with the mechanisms by which language is processed and represented in the mind ...
, which is relevant also for language didactics, both of which are synchronic disciplines. However, a diachronic analysis shows that the strong verb is the remnant of a fully regular system of internal vowel changes, in this case the
Indo-European ablaut In linguistics, the Indo-European ablaut (, from Standard High German, German '':wikt:Ablaut#German, Ablaut'' ) is a system of apophony (regular vowel variations) in the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). An example of ablaut in English is the ...
; historical linguistics seldom uses the category "
irregular verb A regular verb is any verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ' ...
". The principal tools of research in diachronic linguistics are the
comparative method In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with genetic relationship (linguistics), common descent from a shared ancesto ...
and the method of
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 co ...
. Less-standard techniques, such as
mass lexical comparison Mass comparison is a method developed by Joseph Greenberg to determine the level of genetic relatedness between languages. It is now usually called multilateral comparison. The method is rejected by most linguists , though not all. Some of the t ...
, are used by some linguists to overcome the limitations of the comparative method, but most linguists regard them as unreliable. The findings of historical linguistics are often used as a basis for hypotheses about the groupings and movements of peoples, particularly in the prehistoric period. In practice, however, it is often unclear how to integrate the linguistic evidence with the
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and cultural landscapes ...
or genetic evidence. For example, there are numerous theories concerning the homeland and early movements of the
Proto-Indo-Europeans The Proto-Indo-Europeans are a hypothetical prehistory, prehistoric population of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction. ...
, each with its own interpretation of the archaeological record.


Sub-fields of study


Comparative linguistics

Comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
(originally comparative
philology Philology () is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is also defin ...
) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages in order to establish their historical relatedness. Languages may be related by
convergence Convergence may refer to: Arts and media Literature *''Convergence'' (book series), edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen *Convergence (comics), "Convergence" (comics), two separate story lines published by DC Comics: **A four-part crossover storyline that ...
through borrowing or by genetic descent, thus languages can change and are also able to cross-relate. Genetic relatedness implies a common origin or
proto-language In the tree model of historical linguistics, a proto-language is a postulated ancestral language from which a number of attested languages are believed to have descended by evolution, forming a language family. Proto-languages are usually unat ...
. Comparative linguistics has the goal of constructing
language families A language family is a group of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate ...
, reconstructing proto-languages, and specifying the changes that have resulted in the documented languages. To maintain a clear distinction between
attested language In linguistics, attested languages are languages (living or dead language, dead) that have been documented and for which the evidence (attestation) has survived to the present day. Evidence may be Archaeological record, recordings, Transcription ( ...
and reconstructed forms, comparative linguists will prefix an asterisk to any form that is not found in surviving texts.


Etymology

Etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
is the study of the
history History (derived ) is the systematic study and the documentation of the human activity. The time period of event before the invention of writing systems is considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as we ...
of
word A word is a basic element of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate, ...
s: when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. A word may enter a language as a
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...
(as a word from one language adopted by speakers of another language), through
derivational morphology Morphological derivation, in linguistics, is the process of forming a new word from an existing word, often by adding a prefix or suffix, such as For example, ''unhappy'' and ''happiness'' derive from the root word ''happy.'' It is differentiat ...
by combining pre-existing elements in the language, by a hybrid of these two processes called
phono-semantic matching Phono-semantic matching (PSM) is the incorporation of a word into one language from another, often creating a neologism, where the word's non-native quality is hidden by replacing it with Phonetics, phonetically and semantically similar words or ...
, or in several other minor ways. In languages with a long and detailed history, etymology makes use of
philology Philology () is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is also defin ...
, the study of how words change from culture to culture over time. Etymologists also apply the methods of
comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information (such as writing) to be known. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the
comparative method In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with genetic relationship (linguistics), common descent from a shared ancesto ...
, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In that way, word roots that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
language family A language family is a group of languages related through Genetic relationship (linguistics), descent from a common ''ancestral language'' or ''parental language'', called the proto-language of that family. The term "family" reflects the tree m ...
have been found. Although originating in the philological tradition, much current etymological research is done in
language families A language family is a group of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate ...
for which little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian.


Dialectology

Dialectology Dialectology (from Greek , ''dialektos'', "talk, dialect"; and , '' -logia'') is the scientific study of linguistic dialect, a sub-field of sociolinguistics. It studies variations in language based primarily on geographic distribution and their ...
is the scientific study of linguistic
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
, the varieties of a language that are characteristic of particular groups, based primarily on geographic distribution and their associated features. This is in contrast to variations based on social factors, which are studied in
sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any or all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context (language use), context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on languag ...
, or variations based on time, which are studied in historical linguistics. Dialectology treats such topics as divergence of two local dialects from a common ancestor and synchronic variation. Dialectologists are concerned with grammatical features that correspond to regional areas. Thus, they are usually dealing with populations living in specific locales for generations without moving, but also with immigrant groups bringing their languages to new settlements.


Phonology

Phonology Phonology is the branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds or, for sign languages, their constituent parts of signs. The term can also refer specifically to the sound or sign system of a ...
is a sub-field of linguistics which studies the
sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and their ''perception'' by the ...
system of a specific language or set of languages. Whereas
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, parti ...
is about the physical production and
perception Perception () is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous syste ...
of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages. An important part of phonology is studying which sounds are distinctive units within a language. For example, the "p" in "pin" is aspirated, but the "p" in "spin" is not. In English these two sounds are used in
complementary distribution In linguistics, complementary distribution, as distinct from contrastive distribution and free variation, is the relationship between two different elements of the same kind in which one element is found in one set of environments and the other ele ...
and are not used to differentiate words so they are considered
allophones In phonology, an allophone (; from the Ancient Greek, Greek , , 'other' and , , 'voice, sound') is a set of multiple possible spoken soundsor ''phone (phonetics), phones''or signs used to pronounce a single phoneme in a particular language. Fo ...
of the same
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West M ...
. In some other languages like Thai and Quechua, the same difference of aspiration or non-aspiration differentiates words and so the two sounds (or phones) are therefore considered two distinct phonemes. In addition to the minimal meaningful sounds (the phonemes), phonology studies how sounds alternate, such as the /p/ in English, and topics such as
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are on ...
structure, stress, accent, and intonation. The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning, instead of spoken words. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulation in combination with non-manual markers. Sign l ...
s, but the phonological units do not consist of sounds. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of
modality Modality may refer to: Humanities * Modality (theology), the organization and structure of the church, as distinct from sodality or parachurch organizations * Modality (music), in music, the subject concerning certain diatonic scales * Modalities ...
because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones.


Morphology

Morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts *Morphology (astronomy) Galaxy morphological classification is a system used by astronomers ...
is the study of the formal means of expression in a language; in the context of historical linguistics, how the formal means of expression change over time; for instance, languages with complex inflectional systems tend to be subject to a simplification process. This field studies the internal structure of words as a formal means of expression. Words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of
lexicology Lexicology is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, par ...
. While words are generally accepted as being (with
clitic In Morphology (linguistics), morphology and syntax, a clitic (, Back-formation, backformed from Ancient Greek, Greek "leaning" or "enclitic"Crystal, David. ''A First Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics''. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1980. Print.) ...
s) the smallest units of
syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
, it is clear that, in most (if not all) languages, words can be related to other words by rules. The rules understood by the speaker reflect specific patterns (or regularities) in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, 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. See
grammaticalisation In historical linguistics, grammaticalization (also known as grammatization or grammaticization) is a process of language change by which words representing objects and actions (i.e. nouns and verbs) become grammatical markers (such as affixes or p ...
.


Syntax

Syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
is the study of the principles and rules for constructing
sentences ''The Four Books of Sentences'' (''Libri Quattuor Sententiarum'') is a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the 12th century. It is a systematic compilation of theology, written around 1150; it derives its name from the ''sententiae'' o ...
in
natural language In neuropsychology, linguistics, and philosophy of language, a natural language or ordinary language is any language that has linguistic evolution, evolved naturally in humans through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditati ...
s. The term ''syntax'' is used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language, as in "the syntax of Modern Irish". Modern researchers in syntax attempt to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to find general rules that apply to all natural languages in the context of historical linguistics, how characteristics of sentence structure in related languages changed over time. See
grammaticalisation In historical linguistics, grammaticalization (also known as grammatization or grammaticization) is a process of language change by which words representing objects and actions (i.e. nouns and verbs) become grammatical markers (such as affixes or p ...
.


Rates of change and varieties of adaptation

Studies in historical linguistics often use the terms "
conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
" or "innovative" to characterize the extent of change occurring in a particular language or dialect as compared with related varieties. In particular, a ''conservative'' variety changes relatively less than an ''innovative'' variety. The variations in plasticity are often related to the socio-economic situation of the language speakers. An example of an innovative dialect would be
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the United States, most widely spoken lan ...
because of the vast number of speakers and the open interaction its speakers have with other language groups; the changes can be seen in the terms developed for business and marketing, among other fields such as technology. The converse of an innovative language is a conservative language, which is generally defined by its static nature and imperviousness to outside influences. Most but not all conservative languages are spoken in secluded areas that lack any other primary language speaking population. Neither descriptive terms carries any value judgment in linguistic studies or determines any form of worthiness a language has, compared to any other language. A particularly-conservative variety that preserves features that have long since vanished elsewhere is sometimes said to be " archaic". There are few examples of archaic language in modern society, but some have survived in
set phrase Set, The Set, SET or SETS may refer to: Science, technology, and mathematics Mathematics *Set (mathematics) A set is the mathematical model for a collection of different things; a set contains ''Element (mathematics), elements'' or ''member ...
s or in nursery rhymes.


Evolutionary context

In terms of evolutionary theory, historical linguistics (as opposed to research into the
origin of language The origin of language (spoken and signed, as well as language-related technological systems such as writing), its relationship with human evolution, and its consequences have been subjects of study for centuries. Scholars wishing to study th ...
) studies
Lamarckian Lamarckism, also known as Lamarckian inheritance or neo-Lamarckism, is the notion that an organism can pass on to its offspring physical characteristics that the parent organism acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime. It is also calle ...
acquired characteristics of languages.


See also

*
Comparative method In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with genetic relationship (linguistics), common descent from a shared ancesto ...
*
Etymological dictionary An etymological dictionary discusses the etymology of the words listed. Often, large dictionaries, such as the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' and ''Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Webster's'', will contain some etymological informati ...
*
Genetic linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change ...
*
Glottochronology Glottochronology (from Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige ...
*
Grammaticalization In historical linguistics, grammaticalization (also known as grammatization or grammaticization) is a process of language change by which words representing objects and actions (i.e. nouns and verbs) become grammatical markers (such as affixes or p ...
* Historical dictionary *
Language families A language family is a group of language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate ...
*
Lexicostatistics Lexicostatistics is a method of comparative linguistics Comparative linguistics, or comparative-historical linguistics (formerly comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachroni ...
*
List of languages by first written accounts This is a list of languages arranged by age of the oldest existing writing, text recording a complete sentence in the language. It does not include undeciphered scripts, though there are various claims without wide acceptance, which, if substant ...
*
Mass lexical comparison Mass comparison is a method developed by Joseph Greenberg to determine the level of genetic relatedness between languages. It is now usually called multilateral comparison. The method is rejected by most linguists , though not all. Some of the t ...
*
Paleolinguistics Paleolinguistics is a term used by some linguists for the study of the distant human past by linguistic means. For most historical linguists there is no separate field of paleolinguistics. Those who use the term are generally advocates of hypoth ...
*
Proto-language In the tree model of historical linguistics, a proto-language is a postulated ancestral language from which a number of attested languages are believed to have descended by evolution, forming a language family. Proto-languages are usually unat ...
*
Real-time sociolinguistics Real-time sociolinguistics is a sociolinguistic research method concerned with observing linguistic variation and language change, change in progress via longitudinal study, longitudinal studies. Real-time studies track diaphoneme, linguistic variab ...
*
Wave model In historical linguistics, the wave model or wave theory (German language, German ''Wellentheorie'') is a model of language change in which a new language feature (innovation) or a new combination of language features spreads from its region of o ...


Citations


General and cited sources

* * Kortmann, Bernd: ''English Linguistics: Essentials'', Anglistik-Amerikanistik, Cornlesen, pp. 37–49 *


Further reading

* Raimo Anttila, ''Historical and Comparative Linguistics'' (2nd ed.) (John Benjamins, 1989) *
Karl Brugmann Karl Brugmann (16 March 1849 – 29 June 1919) was a German linguist. He is noted for his work in Indo-European linguistics. Biography He was educated at the universities of University of Halle, Halle and University of Leipzig, Leipzig. He taug ...
, Berthold Delbrück, '' Grundriß der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen'' (1886–1916). * Theodora Bynon, ''Historical Linguistics'' (Cambridge University Press, 1977) * Henry M. Hoenigswald, ''Language change and linguistic reconstruction'' (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press 1960). * Richard D. Janda and Brian D. Joseph (Eds), ''The Handbook of Historical Linguistics'' (Blackwell, 2004) * Roger Lass, ''Historical linguistics and language change''. (Cambridge University Press, 1997) * Winfred P. Lehmann, ''Historical Linguistics: An Introduction (Second Edition)'' (Holt, 1973) * April McMahon, ''Understanding Language Change'' (Cambridge University Press, 1994) * James Milroy, ''Linguistic Variation and Change'' (Blackwell, 1992) * A. C. Partridge, ''Tudor to Augustan English: a Study in Syntax and Style, from Caxton to Johnson'', in series, ''The Language Library'', London: A. Deutsch, 1969; 242 p. SBN 233-96092-9 * M.L. Samuels, ''Linguistic Evolution'' (Cambridge University Press, 1972) * R. L. Trask (ed.), ''Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics '' (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001) *
August Schleicher August Schleicher (; 19 February 1821 – 6 December 1868) was a German linguistics, linguist. His great work was ''A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages'' in which he attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-Eur ...
: ''Compendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen.'' (Kurzer Abriss der indogermanischen Ursprache, des Altindischen, Altiranischen, Altgriechischen, Altitalischen, Altkeltischen, Altslawischen, Litauischen und Altdeutschen.) (2 vols.) Weimar, H. Boehlau (1861/62); reprinted by Minerva GmbH, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, *


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Historical Linguistics