In any course of historical and comparative linguistics there will be students of different language backgrounds, different levels of linguistic training, and different theoretical orientation. This textbook attempts to mitigate the problems raised by this heterogeneity in a number of ways. Since it is impossible to treat the language or language family of special interest to every student, the focus of this book is on English in particular and Indo-European languages in general, with Finnish and its closely related languages for contrast. The tenets of different schools of linguistics, and the controversies among them, are treated eclectically and objectively; the examination of language itself plays the leading role in our efforts to ascertain the comparative value of competing theories. This revised edition (1989) of a standard work for comparative linguists offers an added introduction dealing mainly with a semiotic basis of change, a final chapter on aspects of explanation, particularly in historical and human disciplines, and added sections on comparative syntax and on the semiotic status of the comparative method.
Historical and comparative linguistics has been a major scholarly discipline for 200 years, and yet this is the first dictionary ever devoted to it. With nearly 2,400 entries, Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics covers every aspect of the subject, from the most venerable work to the exciting advances of the last few years -- many of which have not yet even made it into textbooks.All of the traditional terms are here, but so are the terms introduced only recently, in connection with such varied subjects as pidgin and creole languages, the sociolinguistic study of language change, mathematical and computational methods, the novel approaches to linguistic geography, the controversial proposals of new and vast language families, and the attempts at relating the theories of historical linguists to those of archaeologists, the anthropologists, and geneticists.More than just a dictionary, this book provides genuine linguistic examples of most of the terms entered, detailed explanations of fundamental concepts, critical assessments of controversial ideas, cross-references to related terms, and an abundance of references to the original literature.
Two languages can resemble each other in the categories, constructions, and types of meaning they use; and in the forms they employ to express these. Such resemblances may be the consequence of universal characteristics of language, of chance or coincidence, of the borrowing by one language of another's words, or of the diffusion of grammatical, phonetic, and phonological characteristics that takes place when languages come into contact. Languages sometimes show likeness because they haveborrowed not from each other but from a third language. Languages that come from the same ancestor may have similar grammatical categories and meanings expressed by similar forms: such languages are said to ...
This advanced historical linguistics course book deals with the historical and comparative study of African languages. The first part functions as an elementary introduction to the comparative method, involving the establishment of lexical and grammatical cognates, the reconstruction of their historical development, techniques for the subclassification of related languages, and the use of language-internal evidence, more specifically the application of internal reconstruction. Part II addresses language contact phenomena and the status of language in a wider, cultural-historical and ecological context. Part III deals with the relationship between comparative linguistics and other disciplines. In this rich course book, the author presents valuable views on a number of issues in the comparative study of African languages, more specifically concerning genetic diversity on the African continent, the status of pidginised and creolised languages, language mixing, and grammaticalisation.
Comparative linguistics and grammaticalization theory both belong to the broader category of historical linguistics, yet few linguists practice both. The methods and goals of each group seem largely distinct: comparative linguists have by and large avoided reconstructing grammar, while grammaticalization theoreticians have either focused on explaining attested historical change or used internal reconstruction to formulate hypotheses about processes of change. In this collection, some of the leading voices in grammaticalization theory apply their methods to comparative data (largely drawn from indigenous languages of the Americas), showing not only that grammar can be reconstructed, but that the process of reconstructing grammar can yield interesting theoretical and typological insights.