340_13HistoricalLinguistics-1

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Historical
Linguistics
Historical Lingustics
Definition:
the study of how
languages change over
time.
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.
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))
Language Change Occurs
in
Phonetics
Phonemics
Morphology
Syntax
Semantics
Phonetic Changes
Regular sound shifts that occur
over time in many languages
bh
dh
gh
Grimm’s Law (1822)
b
b
p
p
d
d
t
t
g
g
k
k
Voiced
voiced
aspirated plosive
aspirated
EG. Latin
pater
piscis
tres
voiced
voiceless
plosive
plosive
English
father
fish
three
voiceless
f
th
x
voiceless
plosive
p-f, t-th
p-f
t-th
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
t
k
b
d
g
Types of Sound Change
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
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
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
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.
Reconstruction of
Proto Indo European - Romance
Reconstruction of
Proto Indo European (Germanic)
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
S-shaped curve – slow
beginning, rapid center,
slow ending
Wave Model – movement
through social and
geographical space.
Language Families
Two kinds of family trees :
Morphological – from the
grammar of the languages
Genetic – from historical
documentation of how
languages evolved
http://www.danshort.com/ie/iecentum.htm
http://www.danshort.com/ie/iesatem.htm
Study Guide
Historical Linguistics
Geogrphical isolation
Culural invention/discovery
Imperfect learning
Status differences
Grimm’s Law
Verner’s Law
Assimilation
Dissimilaton
Haplology Loss
Prothesis
Apocope
Analogy
Gender changes
Borrowing
Loan translation
Obsolescence extension
Amelioration
Contemporary accounts
Poetic evidence
Alphabetic evidence
Comparative reconstruction
Tape and video recordings
Proto Indo European
Change from above
Change from below
S-shaped curve
Wave model
Morphological language
families
Genetic language families
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