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  • Historical linguistics

    Historical linguistics

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    • Dialectology

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    • Etymology

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    • Evolution of language

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    • Extinct languages

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    • Historical linguists

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    • Indo-European

    • This piglix contains articles or sub-piglix about Indo-European


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    • Indo-European linguistics

    • This piglix contains articles or sub-piglix about Indo-European linguistics


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    • Isoglosses

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    • Language histories

    • This piglix contains articles or sub-piglix about Language histories


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    • Linguistic morphology

    • This piglix contains articles or sub-piglix about Linguistic morphology


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    • Nasalization

    • This piglix contains articles or sub-piglix about Nasalization


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    • Paleolinguists

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    • Phonology

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    • Proto-languages

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    • Reclaimed words

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    • Reconstructed languages

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    • Sound changes

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    • Sprachbund

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    • Swadesh lists

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    • Syntax

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    • Historical linguistics

    • Historical linguistics, also called diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: Modern historical linguistics dates from the late 18th century. It grew out of the earlier discipline of philology, the study of ancient texts and ... Read »


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    • Attested language

    • In linguistics, attested languages are languages (living or dead) that have been documented, and for which the evidence has survived to the present day. Evidence may be recordings, transcriptions, literature, or inscriptions. In contrast, unattested languages may be names of purported languages for which no direct evid ... Read »


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    • Automated Similarity Judgment Program

    • The Automated Similarity Judgment Program (ASJP) is a collaborative project applying computational approaches to comparative linguistics using a database of word lists. The database is open access and consists of 40-item basic-vocabulary lists for well over half of the world's languages. It is continuously being expand ... Read »


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    • Center versus periphery

    • Center versus periphery (方言周圏論, Hōgen-ShÅ«ken-Ron, lit. "Surrounding-zones dialect theory") is a linguistic theory put forward by Japanese folklorist Yanagita Kunio explaining the usage of certain words in a language used in some regions while not in others. The theory may also explain the ... Read »


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    • Chain shift

    • In historical linguistics, a chain shift is a set of sound changes affecting a group of phonemes in the following way: as the pronunciation of one phoneme changes away from its original value, a second phoneme changes toward the original pronunciation of the first phoneme. The sounds involved in a chain shift can be or ... Read »


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    • Change from above

    • Change from above is linguistic change that enters the language from above the level of consciousness; that is, speakers are generally aware of the linguistic change and implement its use in order to sound more dominant. It stands in contrast to change from below. In change from above, the change usually enters formal ... Read »


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    • Change from below

    • Change from below is linguistic change that occurs from below the level of consciousness. It is language change that occurs from social, cognitive, or physiological pressures from within the system. This is in opposition to change from above, wherein language change is a result of elements imported from other systems. ... Read »


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    • Cognate

    • In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. In etymology, the cognate category excludes doublets and loanwords. The word cognate derives from the Latin noun , which means "blood relative". Cognates do not need to have the same meaning, which may have changed as the languages develope ... Read »


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    • Cognitive philology

    • Cognitive philology is the science that studies written and oral texts as the product of human mental processes. Studies in cognitive philology compare documentary evidence emerging from textual investigations with results of experimental research, especially in the fields of cognitive and ecological psychology, neuros ... Read »


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    • Comparative linguistics

    • Comparative linguistics (originally comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness. Genetic relatedness implies a common origin or proto-language and comparative linguistics aims to construct language families, to recons ... Read »


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    • Comparative method (linguistics)

    • 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 common descent from a shared ancestor, in order to extrapolate back to infer the properties of that ancestor. The comparative method may be contrast ... Read »


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    • Compensatory lengthening

    • Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda, or of a vowel in an adjacent syllable. Lengthening triggered by consonant loss may be considered an extreme form of fusion (Crowley 1997 ... Read »


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    • Conservative (language)

    • In linguistics, a conservative form, variety, or modality is one that has changed relatively little over its history, or which is relatively resistant to change. It is the opposite of innovative or advanced forms or varieties, which have undergone relatively larger or more recent changes. A conservative linguistic for ... Read »


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    • Curvilinear principle

    • In sociolinguistics, the curvilinear principle states that there is a tendency for linguistic change from below to originate from members of the central classes in a speech community's socioeconomic hierarchy, rather than from the outermost or exterior classes. Defined by William Labov, the curvilinear principle d ... Read »


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    • Czech studies

    • Bohemistics, also known as Czech studies, is the field of humanities that researches, documents and disseminates Czech language and literature in both its historic and present-day forms. The common Czech name for the field is bohemistika. A researcher in the field is usually called a "Bohemist". ... Read »


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    • Daughter language

    • In historical linguistics, a daughter language is a language descended from another language through a process of genetic descent. Strictly speaking, the metaphor of the mother-daughter relationship can lead to misconceptualization of language history, as daughter languages are normally direct continuations of earlier ... Read »


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    • Divergence (linguistics)

    • Divergence in linguistics refers to one of the five principles by which you can detect grammaticalisation while it is taking place. The other four are: layering, specialisation, persistence, and de-categorialisation. Divergence names a state of affairs subsequent to some change, namely the result of the process called ... Read »


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    • Double plural

    • A double plural is a plural form to which an extra suffix has been added, mainly because the original plural suffix had become unproductive and therefore irregular. So the form as a whole was no longer seen as a plural, an instance of morphological leveling. Examples of this can be seen in the history of English and D ... Read »


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    • Doublet (linguistics)

    • In etymology, two or more words in the same language are called doublets or etymological twins (or possibly triplets, etc.) when they have different phonological forms but the same etymological root. Often, but not always, the variants entered the language through different routes. Because the relationship between word ... Read »


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    • Drift (linguistics)

    • Two types of language change can be characterized as linguistic drift: a short-term and cyclic long-term drift. According to Sapir, drift is the unconscious change in natural language. He gives the example Whom did you see? which is grammatically correct but is generally replaced by Who did you see? Structural sy ... Read »


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    • Dutch linguistic influence on naval terms

    • Historically, many Dutch military terms have been influential and adopted as loanwords by many other languages all over the world. Although most of these words are connected to naval activities, some (such as "forlorn hope") relate to land warfare. Some Dutch naval terms adopted by the various languages include: Othe ... Read »


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    • Eurolinguistics

    • Eurolinguistics is a neologistic term for the study of the languages of Europe. The term Eurolinguistics was first used by Norbert Reiter in 1991 (German equivalent: Eurolinguistik). Apart from a series of works dealing with only a part of the European languages, the work of Harald Haarmann pursues a "pan- or trans-Eur ... Read »


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    • External history

    • External history of a language refers to the social and geopolitical history of the language: migrations, conquests, language contact, and uses of the language in trade, education, literature, law, liturgy, mass media, etc. It is contrasted with internal history, which refers to linguistic forms (phonology, morphology, ... Read »


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    • False cognate

    • False cognates are pairs of words that seem to be cognates because of similar sounds and meaning, but have different etymologies; they can be within the same language or from different languages. That is different from false friends, which may in fact be related but have different meanings. Example: Dependiente looks l ... Read »


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    • Fossil word

    • A fossil word is a word that is broadly but remains in currency because it is contained within an idiom still in use. Fossil status can also occur for word senses and for phrases. An example for a word sense is 'navy' in 'merchant navy', which means 'commercial fleet' (although that sense of navy is obsolete elsewher ... Read »


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    • Genetic relationship (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, genetic relationship is the usual term for the relationship which exists between languages that are members of the same language family. The term genealogical relationship is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the unrelated use of the term in biological genetics. Languages that possess genetic ties ... Read »


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    • Genus (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, a genus is a group of phylogenetically related languages inside a linguistic family, in particular a genus is a group languages which can be recognized as related languages without using complex methods of historical linguistics. The notion of genus was proposed by M. Dryer, and is used commonly in some ... Read »


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    • Germanisation

    • Germanisation (also spelt Germanization) refers to the spread of the German language, people and culture or policies which introduced these changes. It was a central plank of German conservative thinking in the 19th and 20th centuries, at a period when conservatism and nationalism went hand-in-hand. In linguistics, Ger ... Read »


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    • Grammaticalization

    • In historical linguistics and language change, 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 (affixes, prepositions, etc.). Grammaticalization creates new function wo ... Read »


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    • Historical Dictionary Project of the Hebrew Language

    • The Historical Dictionary Project of the Hebrew Language (HDP) (Hebrew: מִפְעַל הַמִּלּוֹן הַהִיסְטוֹרִי) is a long-term research undertaking of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. According to the Academy's website, "The overarch ... Read »


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    • Historical pragmatics

    • Historical pragmatics is the study of language use (especially in spoken language) in its historical dimension. Since the late 1970s, historical linguists have discovered their growing interest in pragmatic questions—first in German, then in Romance linguistics. Especially thanks to Andreas Jucker this field has ... Read »


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    • History of the English language (education)

    • In English-language education, History of the English language (HEL) is a commonly required class for students in English studies and Education, though in the nineteenth and early twentieth century it was often required of all US college students. Since HEL is often the only linguistics class required of English m ... Read »


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    • Hybridity

    • Hybridity refers in its most basic sense to mixture. The term originates from biology and was subsequently employed in linguistics and in racial theory in the nineteenth century. Its contemporary uses are scattered across numerous academic disciplines and is salient in popular culture. This article explains the history ... Read »


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    • Indo-European ablaut

    • In linguistics, the Indo-European ablaut (pronounced /ˈæblaʊt/) is a system of apophony (regular vowel variations) in the Proto-Indo-European language. All modern Indo-European languages have inherited the feature, though its prevalence and productivity strongly varies. An example of ablaut in English is the ... Read »


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    • Influence of Arabic on other languages

    • Arabic has had a great influence on other languages, especially in vocabulary. The influence of Arabic has been most profound in those countries dominated by Islam or Islamic power. Arabic is a major source of vocabulary for languages as diverse as Amharic, Tigrinya, Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Kazakh, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, ... Read »


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    • Inkhorn term

    • An inkhorn term is any foreign borrowing (or a word created from existing word roots by an English speaker) into English deemed to be unnecessary or overly pretentious. An inkhorn is an inkwell made out of horn. It was an important item for many scholars and soon became symbolic of writers in general. Later, it be ... Read »


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    • Internal history

    • Internal history of a language refers to the historical development of its linguistic forms (phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon) and semantics. It is contrasted with "external history", which refers to the social and geopolitical history of the language. The history of any language can be divided into external ... Read »


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    • Internal reconstruction

    • Internal reconstruction is a method of recovering information about a language's past from the characteristics of the language at a later date. Whereas the comparative method compares variations between languages, such as in sets of cognates, under the assumption that they descend from a single proto-language, interna ... Read »


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    • Internationalism (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, an internationalism or international word is a loanword that occurs in several languages (that is, translingually) with the same or at least similar meaning and etymology. These words exist in "several different languages as a result of simultaneous or successive borrowings from the ultimate source" (I. ... Read »


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    • Isogloss

    • An isogloss, also called a heterogloss (see Etymology below), is the geographic boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or the use of some syntactic feature. Major dialects are typically demarcated by groups of isoglosses, such as the Benrath line that dist ... Read »


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    • Japhetic theory

    • In linguistics, the Japhetic theory of Soviet linguist Nikolay Yakovlevich Marr (1864–1934) postulated that the Kartvelian languages of the Caucasus area are related to the Semitic languages of the Middle East. The theory gained favor among Soviet linguists for ideological reasons, as it was thought to represent " ... Read »


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    • Jespersen's Cycle


    • Language change

    • Language change is variation over time in a language's phonetic, morphological, semantic, syntactic, and other features. It is studied by historical linguistics and evolutionary linguistics. Some commentators use the label corruption to suggest that language change constitutes a degradation in the quality of a language ... Read »


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    • Language family

    • A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' reflects the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a biological family tree, or in ... Read »


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    • Language shift

    • Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community of a language shifts to speaking another language. Often, languages that are perceived to be higher status stabilise or spread at the expense of other languages that are perceived ... Read »


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    • Law of Hobson-Jobson

    • Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive, or Hobson-Jobson is a historical dictionary of Anglo-Indian words and terms from Indian languages which came into use during the British rule of India. It was written by ... Read »


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    • Layering (linguistics)

    • Layering in linguistics refers to one of the five principles by which grammaticalisation can be detected while it is taking place. The other four are: divergence, specialisation, persistence, and de-categorialisation. Layering refers to the phenomenon that a language can have and develop multiple expressions for the s ... Read »


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    • Lexical diffusion

    • In historical linguistics, lexical diffusion is both a phenomenon and a theory. The phenomenon is that by which a phoneme is modified in a subset of the lexicon, and spreads gradually to other lexical items. For example, in English, /uː/ has changed to /ʊ/ in good and hood but not in food; some dialects have it i ... Read »


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    • Lexicostatistics

    • Lexicostatistics is an approach to comparative linguistics that involves quantitative comparison of lexical cognates. Lexicostatistics is related to the comparative method but does not reconstruct a proto-language. It is to be distinguished from , which attempts to use lexicostatistical methods to estimate the length o ... Read »


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    • Linguistic distance

    • Linguistic distance is how different one language or dialect is from another. Although there is no uniform approach to quantifying linguistic distance between languages, the concept is used in a variety of linguistic situations, such as learning additional languages, historical linguistics, language-based conflicts and ... Read »


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    • Linguistic reconstruction

    • Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: In texts concerning linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed forms are commonly prefaced with an asterisk (*), to distinguish them from attest ... Read »


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    • Linkage (linguistics)

    • In historical linguistics, a linkage is a group of related languages that is formed when a proto-language breaks up into a network of dialects that gradually differentiates into separate languages. This term was introduced by Malcolm Ross in his study of the Western Oceanic languages (Ross 1988); it is contrasted with ... Read »


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    • List of languages by first written accounts

    • This is a list of languages arranged by the approximate dates of the oldest existing texts recording a complete sentence in the language. It does not include undeciphered scripts, though there are various claims without wide acceptance, which, if substantiated, would push backward the first attestation of certain langu ... Read »


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    • List of proto-languages

    • Below is a list of proto-languages that have been reconstructed, ordered by geographic location. These are hypothetical proto-languages that cannot be substantiated using the scientific methods of comparative linguistics. ... Read »


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    • Loanword

    • A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word adopted from one language (the donor language) and incorporated into another language without translation. A loanword is distinguished from a calque (loan translation), which is a word or phrase whose meaning or idiom is adopted from another language by translatio ... Read »


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    • Macrofamily

    • In historical linguistics, a macrofamily, also called a superfamily or phylum, is a proposed genetic relationship grouping together language families (also isolates) in a larger scale classification. However, Campbell regards this term as superfluous, preferring "language family" for those classifications for which the ... Read »


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    • Mass 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 (Campbell 2001, p. 45), though not all. Some of the top-level relationships Greenberg named had alread ... Read »


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    • Metatypy

    • Metatypy /mᵻˈtætáµ»pi/ is a type of morphosyntactic and semantic language change brought about by language contact involving multilingual speakers. The term was coined by linguist Malcolm Ross. Malcolm Ross (1999: 7, 1) gives the following definition: [Metatypy is a] change in morphosyntactic type a ... Read »


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    • Mother Tongue (journal)

    • Mother Tongue is an annual academic journal published by the Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory (ASLIP) that has been published since 1995. Its goal is to encourage international and interdisciplinary information sharing, discussion, and debate among geneticists, paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, a ... Read »


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    • Nasalization

    • In phonetics, nasalization (or nasalisation) is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth. An archetypal nasal sound is [n]. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, nasalization is indicated by printing a tilde diacri ... Read »


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    • Neogrammarian

    • The Neogrammarians (also Young Grammarians; German: Junggrammatiker) were a German school of linguists, originally at the University of Leipzig, in the late 19th century who proposed the Neogrammarian hypothesis of the regularity of sound change. According to the Neogrammarian hypothesis, a diachronic sound change aff ... Read »


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    • Palatalization (sound change)

    • In linguistics, palatalization /ˌpælətəlaɪˈzeɪʃən/ is a sound change that either results in a palatal or palatalized consonant or a front vowel, or is triggered by one of them. Palatalization involves change in the place or manner of articulation of consonants, or the fronting or raising of v ... Read »


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    • 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 hypotheses not generally accepted by mainstream historical linguists, a group col ... Read »


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    • Paleolithic Continuity Theory

    • The Paleolithic Continuity Theory (or PCT, Italian La teoria della continuità), since 2010 relabelled as a "paradigm", as in Paleolithic Continuity Paradigm or PCP), is a hypothesis suggesting that the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic, several millennia earlier than the ... Read »


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    • Panchronic phonology

    • Panchronic phonology is an approach to historical phonology. Its aim is to formulate generalizations about sound change that are independent of any particular language or language group. The term 'panchronic' as applied to linguistics goes back at least to Saussure, who uses it to refer to the most general princip ... Read »


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    • Persistence (linguistics)

    • Persistence in linguistics refers to one of the five principles by which grammaticalisation can be detected while it is taking place. The other four are: layering, divergence, specialisation, and de-categorialisation. "When a form undergoes grammaticalization from a lexical to a grammatical function, as long as it is ... Read »


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    • The Philadelphia study

    • The Philadelphia study was a study designed to test the Curvilinear principle as referred to by William Labov, through careful gathering and analysis of research on language variants in five Philadelphia neighborhoods. His research goal was to "...discover the social location of the innovators of linguistic change and ... Read »


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    • Philology

    • Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics. It is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. ... Read »


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    • Phonological change

    • In historical linguistics, phonological change is any sound change which alters the distribution of phonemes in a language. In other words, a language develops a new system of oppositions among its phonemes. Old contrasts may disappear, new ones may emerge, or they may simply be rearranged. Sound change may be an impet ... Read »


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    • Polygenesis (linguistics)

    • In the field of linguistics, polygenesis is the view that human languages evolved as several lineages independent of one another. It is contrasted with monogenesis, which is the view that human languages all go back to a single common ancestor. Polygenesis is not to be confused with the wave theory, originally propoun ... Read »


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    • Pre-Indo-European languages

    • Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several old languages, not necessarily related to one another, that existed in prehistoric Europe and South Asia before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages. The oldest Indo-European language texts date from 19th century BC in Kültepe in modern-day Turkey, and whi ... Read »


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    • Prosiopesis

    • Prosiopesis (from Classical Greek, προσιωπησις, "becoming silent") is a term coined by Otto Jespersen for pronouncing a word or phrase without vocalizing its initial sounds. One example Jespersen gave is for "Good morning" to be shortened to "Morning". Jesperson introduced the idea in L ... Read »


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    • Proto-language

    • A proto-language in the tree model of historical linguistics is a language, usually hypothetical or reconstructed, and unattested, from which a number of attested, or documented, known languages are believed to have descended by evolution, or slow modification of the proto-language into languages that form a language f ... Read »


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    • Provection

    • Provection, according to The Gaelic of Arran by Nils Magnus Holmer refers to "the carrying over of the final consonant of a word to the following word". It is considered to be a "grammatic mutation" and is used a lot in Breton grammar. ... Read »


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    • Quantitative comparative linguistics

    • Statistical methods have been used in comparative linguistics since at least the 1950s (see Swadesh list). Since about the year 2000, there has been a renewed interest in the topic, based on the application of methods of computational phylogenetics and cladistics to define an optimal tree (or network) to represent a hy ... Read »


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    • Quantitative metathesis

    • Quantitative metathesis (or transfer of quantity) is a specific form of metathesis or transposition (a sound change) involving quantity or vowel length. By this process, two vowels near each other – one long, one short – switch their lengths, so that the long one becomes short, and the short one becomes long. ... Read »


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    • Reappropriation

    • In sociology and cultural studies, reappropriation or reclamation is the cultural process by which a group reclaims terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. The term reappropriation is an extension of the term appropriation or cultural appropriation used in anthropology, soc ... Read »


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    • Reborrowing

    • Reborrowing is the process where a word travels from one language to another and then back to the originating language in a different form or with a different meaning. This path is indicated by A→B→A, where A is the originating language, and can take many forms. The result is generally a doublet, where the r ... Read »


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    • Recency illusion

    • The recency illusion is the belief or impression that a word or language usage is of recent origin when it is long-established. The term was coined by Arnold Zwicky, a linguist at Stanford University primarily interested in examples involving words, meanings, phrases, and grammatical constructions. However, use of th ... Read »


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    • Reconstructions of Old Chinese

    • Several authors have produced reconstructions of Old Chinese phonology, beginning with the Swedish sinologist Bernard Karlgren in the 1940s and continuing to the present day. The method employed is unique, comparing the categories of medieval rhyme dictionaries with categories implied by ancient rhyming practice and th ... Read »


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    • Relict

    • A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon. Other uses: In various places around the world, minority ethnic groups represent lineages of ancient human migrations in places now occupied by more populous ethnic groups, whose ancestors arrived later. For example, the first human groups to inhabit the Ca ... Read »


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    • Rosetta Project

    • The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone to last from 2000 to 12,000 AD; it is run by the Long Now Foundation. Its goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,500 languages. Some of t ... Read »


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    • Semantic change

    • Semantic change (also semantic shift, semantic progression, semantic development, or semantic drift) is the evolution of word usage—usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage. In diachronic (or historical) linguistics, semantic change is a change in one of the meani ... Read »


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    • Sister language

    • In historical linguistics, sister languages, also known as sibling languages or brother languages are cognate languages; that is, languages that descend from a common ancestral language, the so-called proto-language. Every language in an established language family is a sister to the others. A commonly given example i ... Read »


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    • Sociohistorical linguistics

    • Sociohistorical linguistics, or historical sociolinguistics, is the study of the relationship between language and society in its historical dimension. A typical question in this field would, for instance, be: “How were the verb endings -s and -th (he loves vs. he loveth) distributed in Middle English society†... Read »


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    • Sound change

    • Sound change includes any processes of language change that affect pronunciation (phonetic change) or sound system structures (phonological change). Sound change can consist of the replacement of one speech sound (or, more generally, one phonetic feature value) by another, the complete loss of the affected sound, or ev ... Read »


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    • Soviet phraseology

    • Soviet phraseology, or Sovietisms, i.e., the neologisms and cliches in Russian language of the epoch of the Soviet Union, has a number of distinct traits that reflect the Soviet way of life and Soviet culture and politics. Most of these distinctions are ultimately traced (directly or indirectly, as a cause-effect chain ... Read »


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    • Specialization (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, the term specialization (as defined by Paul Hopper), refers to one of the five principles by which grammaticalization can be detected while it is taking place. The other four principles are: layering, divergence, persistence, and de-categorialization. Specialization refers to the narrowing of choices t ... Read »


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    • Stratum (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, a stratum (Latin for "layer") or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum or substrate is a language that has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum or superstrate is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratu ... Read »


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    • Subjectification (linguistics)

    • In historical (or diachronic) linguistics, subjectification (also known as subjectivization or subjectivisation) is a language change process in which a linguistic expression acquires meanings that convey the speaker's attitude or viewpoint. This is a pragmatic-semantic process, which means that inherent as well as con ... Read »


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    • Swadesh list

    • The Swadesh list /ˈswɒdɛʃ/ is a classic compilation of basic concepts for the purposes of historical-comparative linguistics. Translations of the Swadesh list into a set of languages allow researchers to quantify the interrelatedness of those languages. The Swadesh list is named after linguist Morris Swades ... Read »


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    • Syntactic change

    • In the field of linguistics, syntactic change is the evolution of the syntactic structure of a natural language. If one regards a language as vocabulary cast into the mould of a particular syntax (with functional items maintaining the basic structure of a sentence and with the lexical items filling in the blanks), syn ... Read »


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    • Teeter's law


    • 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 evolution of species. As with species, each language is assumed to have evolved from a single par ... Read »


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    • Unidirectionality hypothesis

    • In linguistics, the unidirectionality hypothesis proposes that grammaticalisation works in a single direction. That is, pronouns may fuse with verbs, or prepositions may fuse with nouns, to create new inflectional systems, but inflectional endings do not break off to create new pronouns or prepositions. The unidirecti ... Read »


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    • Urheimat

    • Urheimat (/ˈʊərhaɪmɑːt/; German pronunciation: [ˈʔuːɐ̯ˌhaɪmaːt]; from a German compound of "original" and Heimat "home, homeland") is a linguistic term that denotes the hypothesized homeland of the speakers of a proto-language. A proto-language is a hypothetical parent languag ... Read »


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    • Vasconic substratum theory

    • The Vasconic substratum theory is a proposal that several western European languages contain remnants of an old language family of Vasconic languages, of which Basque is the only surviving member. The proposal was made by the German linguist Theo Vennemann, but has been rejected by other linguists. According to Vennem ... Read »


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    • Vowel shift

    • A vowel shift is a systematic sound change in the pronunciation of the vowel sounds of a language. The best-known example in the English language is the Great Vowel Shift, which began in the 15th century. The Greek language also underwent a vowel shift near the beginning of the Common Era, which included iotacism. Amo ... Read »


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    • Wave model

    • In historical linguistics, the wave model or wave theory (German Wellentheorie) is a model of language change in which a new language feature (innovation) or a new combination of language features spreads from a central region of origin in continuously weakening concentric circles, similar to the waves created when a s ... Read »


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    • Wörter und Sachen


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  • What Else?

    • Historical linguistics

Extras