LING-449 Historical Linguistics
Spring for 2017-2018
This course focuses on how and why languages change over time, and on how we can study the linguistic history of individual languages and language families. In the first part of the course, we’ll discuss the basic nature of linguistic change, and how diachronic change is reflected within the synchronic grammars of speakers. We’ll also discuss common changes in phonetics, phonological organization, syntax, and semantics. In the second part, we’ll study how internal reconstruction and the Comparative Method can be used to develop hypotheses about the development of related languages, with and without a documented history of written records. Here, we’ll focus especially (though not exclusively) on the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Bantu. Finally, we’ll consider the close relationship between diachronic change and synchronic variation in exploring the factors that drive linguistic change over time.
Other academic years
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