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Language Change

Language Change

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Language Change

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  1. Lec. 8 Language Change

  2. Reconstructing Dead Languages • Language change: how & why • Historical & comparative linguistics • Historical because it deals with the history of a particular language • Comparative because it deals with relations among languages

  3. The 19th century Comparativists • The 19th century historical & comparative linguists based their theories on observations of regular sound correspondences among certain languages. • Languages which display systematic similarities & differences must have descended form a common source language, i.e. genetically related

  4. The 19th century Comparativists • Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Persian, & Germanic share regular/ systematic certain phonological differences & similarities • Regular sound correspondence of related languages • Latin /p/ = English /f/ • Latin /t/ = English // • Latin /k/ = English /h/

  5. Grimm’s Law • Voiced aspirates  unaspirated /bh/  /b/ /dh/  /d/ /gh/  /g/

  6. Grimm’s Law • Voiced stops  voiceless /b/  /p/ /d/  /t/ /g/  /k/

  7. Grimm’s Law • Voiceless stops  fricatives /p/  /f/ /t/  // /k/  //

  8. Cognates Are words in related languages that developed from the same ancestral root,, i.e. they have a common etymological origin such as English horn & Latin cornu, but not always, have the same meaning in the different languages.

  9. Examples • Examples of cognates in Indo-European languages are the words: night (English), nuit (French), Nacht (German), nacht (Dutch), nag (Afrikaans), nicht (Scots), natt (Swedish, Norwegian), nat (Danish),

  10. Comparative Reconstruction • If languages resemble one another; is it due to borrowing? Or is it by chance? • English, German, Danish, Norwegian, & Swedish share similar vocabulary, similar spelling, & similar grammatical rules. • English : man / milk • German : mann / milch • Swedish : mäniska / mjölk • Norwegian : man / melk

  11. Arabic & Hebrew

  12. Arabic & Hebrew

  13. Hebrew & Arabic • By applying the comparative method, can you tell what do these words mean in Hebrew? احريموت ؟ مفتياح؟ عولم؟ رحمنوت؟

  14. Comparative Reconstruction • By means of comparative method, we will see if these languages have evolved form an ancestral language, i.e. Proto-Germanic? Proto-Semitic?

  15. Reference • Fromkin et al. (2003).An Introduction to Language. (7th ed.). Mass.: Wadsworth. • Chapter (11) pp. 516-522