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Historical Linguistics: Change, reconstruction. LING 400 Winter 2010. Overview. Reconstruction Time-depth Conversative vs. innovative languages Reconstruction and prehistory More historical change Morphological, morphosyntactic Semantic. please turn off your cell phone.

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Historical linguistics change reconstruction

Historical Linguistics:Change, reconstruction

LING 400

Winter 2010


Overview
Overview

  • Reconstruction

    • Time-depth

    • Conversative vs. innovative languages

    • Reconstruction and prehistory

  • More historical change

    • Morphological, morphosyntactic

    • Semantic

please turn off your cell phone

For further learning about historical linguistics: LING 454


Time depth
Time-depth

  • “Persian is an old language.”

  • All (modern) daughters of proto-language have equal time-depth.


Time depth1
Time-depth

  • Proto-Indo-European: 5000-6000 years ago

    • Proto-Germanic: 2500-3500

  • Oldest IE written documents

    • Hittite 1300 B.C.

    • Sanskrit 1200 B.C.

    • Greek 1000 B.C. (Mycenean earlier)


Reconstruction
Reconstruction

  • The comparative method

    • assemble cognates

    • deduce proto-form, meaning

  • “Reconstructible”

    • Not necessarily attested in all branches

    • *ēg̤w- ‘drink’

      • Hittite

      • Latin ēbrius ‘drunk’


A cognate set
A cognate set

  • Sanskrit [snuʂā́] ‘daughter-in-law’

  • Old English [snoru] ‘daughter-in-law’

  • Old Church Slavonic [snŭxa] ‘daughter-in-law’

  • Latin [nurus] ‘daughter-in-law’

  • Greek [nuós] ‘daughter-in-law’

  • Armenian [nu] ‘bride, daughter-in-law’

  • Albanian [nuse] ‘bride’


Reconstruction1
Reconstruction

  • *sn… or *n…? ‘daughter-in-law’

    • Latin nix, niv- ‘snow’

    • English snow

    • PIE *sneig̤w- ‘to snow’

      vs.

    • Latin ne- ‘not’

    • Old English ne ‘not’

    • PIE *ne ‘not’

  • [u], OCS [ŭ], OE [o] < *u

  • Medial *s? *ʂ?r?

    • Sanskrit *s > ʂ / u__

    • Latin s > r/ V__V,  Germanic

    • Greek, Armenian *s > 0 / V__V

  • … (ending, accent)

  • PIE *snu|sos

  • ‘daughter-in-law’ or ‘bride’?

    • most early IE societies patriarchal and patrilocal

    • ‘daughter-in-law’ in most; ‘bride’ restricted


Conservative vs innovative
Conservative vs. innovative

  • Sanskrit [snuʂā́] < *snu|sos

    • conserves [sn], [u]; accent

    • innovates *s > ʂ / u__

  • Albanian [nuse] ‘bride’

    • conserves [u], medial [s]

    • innovates *s > 0 / __n, semantics


Reconstruction and prehistory
Reconstruction and prehistory

  • Calvert Watkins: ‘the lexicon of a language remains the single most effective way of approaching and understanding the culture of its speakers…The reconstruction of vocabulary can offer a fuller, more interesting view of the culture of a prehistoric people than archaeology precisely because it includes nonmaterial culture.’


Proto indo european
Proto-Indo-European

  • *med̤u- ‘mead, honey’

  • *daiwer- ‘husband’s brother’

    • *wife’s relatives

  • *sneig̤w- ‘snow’

  • *laks- ‘salmon’ (lox)

  • *mori- ‘body of water; lake (?), sea (?)’ (mermaid)

  • *gr̩-no ‘grain’ (> corn)

  • *owi- ‘sheep’ (> ewe)

  • *demə- ‘house, household’

    • *dem(ə)- ‘to build’ (> timber)

  • *kwel- ‘to revolve, go around’, *kw(e)-kwl-o- ‘wheel’


Historical linguistics
Historical linguistics

  • 1786 Sir William Jones observed similarities between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Latin, Gothic, Celtic, Old Persian

  • 19th century: reconstruction of PIE

  • 20th century on

    • Hittite, Tocharian

    • Comparative method applicable elsewhere



Language change
Language change

  • Languages may change on various levels

    • phonetics, phonology

    • morphology

    • syntax

    • semantics


Morphemes disappear
Morphemes disappear

PADeg Xinag Witsuwit’en Tsek’ene

‘man’s daughter’ *-tsheʔ -[tθhɑʔ] -[tshɛʔ] --

‘arm’ *-qɑ̰:neʔ -[qon] -- -[kònèʔ]


Paradigm leveling
Paradigm leveling

  • Elimination of irregularity among morphologically related forms


‘Leveled’ progressive paradigm (uniformly [i])

‘Leveled’ future paradigm (uniformly [ɑ])


Semantic change

Reduction (hyponym formation)

  • Proto-Athabaskan Tsek’ene

  • *-ʁəm‘snore, growl’ -[hxõ̀h] ‘snore’

  • Witsuwit’en

  • *-ntɑ̰:c ‘dance’ -[ntec] ‘(white people) dance’


Extension
Extension

Hypernym formation

  • Proto-Athabaskan Tsek’ene

  • *cḭ:ce: ‘blueberry’ ʧɪ̀ʧe ‘berry’


Where was proto athabaskan spoken
Where was Proto-Athabaskan spoken?

  • Michael Krauss

    • the PA homeland (Urheimat) ‘was in eastern Alaska, interior, perhaps extending into Canada already.’


Considerations
Considerations

  • Deep vs. shallow differentiation

  • Location of related languages

  • Reconstructed vocabulary


Differentiation
Differentiation

  • Deep differentiation: long occupation of territory

    • Alaska, western BC

  • Closely related: recent spread

    • Mackenzie R.

    • Pacific Coast

    • Apachean



Related languages
Related languages

  • Usually nearby

  • Eyak

    • mouth of Copper R.

  • Tlingit

    • Alaska panhandle


Reconstructed vocabulary
Reconstructed vocabulary

  • Mountains and snow

    • *tsəɬ‘mountain’

    • *ʔa:ç ‘snowshoe’

    • *ɬu:‘ice, icicle, glacier’

1910 map

Hudson Bay Mt., B.C.


Summary
Summary

  • All languages change over time

  • Change occurs at all levels of grammar

  • Earlier stages can often be reconstructed, with implications for prehistory


Question
Question

  • Bronze Age 3300-1200 BC (bronze < copper+tin)

    • PIE *ajes- ‘copper or bronze’ (attested in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit)

  • Iron Age (1300 BC on) (iron, steel)

    • *isarno ‘iron’ only attested in Germanic, Celtic

  • Are *ajes and *isarno relevant to dating of PIE? (PIE estimated 5000-6000 BC.)


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