Language and Linguistics

Historical linguistics definition/history/features

Historical linguistics

The historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics and sometimes comparative linguistics or comparative ) is the discipline of linguistics that studies language change over time and the process of linguistic change . Therefore, historical linguistics occupies a prominent place in the study of diachronic evolution of languages ​​and their relationship or genetic kinship. The results of historical linguistics can often be compared with those of other disciplines such as history , archeology or genetics.. In interdisciplinary studies of this type, what is intended is to reconstruct the relative chronology of contacts between peoples, routes of expansion and mutual cultural influences. The comparative linguistic name, or comparative grammar , properly refers to one of the main techniques of ancient synchronous historical linguistics . Historical linguistics definition

Historical Linguistics It is the study of the evolution, through time, of languages. Its domain is the diachronic aspect of language


Grammar, as mere description and classification of facts, had fallen into disrepute throughout the nineteenth century . His scientific character was questioned, since he lacked laws. These are only possible when there is regularity in the observed phenomena; but everything in the language seemed to be anomalous, irregular and asystematic. Historical linguistics definition

The grammatical theory seemed definitely exhausted or, at least, it was not attractive at a time of great findings and progress in the natural sciences. Those who were attracted to the study of language faced other much more seductive problems, problems that admitted a “scientific” treatment.

While discussing the The historical linguistics or diachronic linguistics,we must go to its history.By the end of the 18th century , several researchers had discovered Sanskrit, which was related to Greek and Latin . Then begins a feverish activity, which develops throughout the nineteenth century , and ends up lighting a comparative grammar . It consisted in comparing each other near and remote languages, in order to understand their kinships and families. It was in this way that the large family of Indo-European languages ​​was established, for example, all derived from a primitive missing language.

The purely comparative phase soon gave way to another of the highest scientific rank. It was observed that among the sounds of the equivalent words of the languages ​​of a family, there were constant correspondences. Jacobo Grimm ( 1822 ) discovered that the Germanic languages ​​had an F in positions where other Indo-European languages ​​had a P, and that they had a P where the others had a B, and so on.

These regularities allowed to establish laws of correspondence between some languages ​​and others, as well as laws of evolution between a language and its dialects. Observations and laws of this kind came to confer linguistics on the desired scientific character that it sought, and which was not noticed in traditional grammar. Linguists could already rub shoulders without blushing with nature researchers, identify with them. With this desire, the so-called neogrammatics formulated a principle that gave phonetic laws the same regularity as natural laws. Historical linguistics definition

Launched then to spectacular discoveries in the kinship of languages ​​and in the historical correspondences between them, armed with the powerful scientific instrument of phonetic laws , linguists abandoned all research on language that was not evolutionary. The grammar was abandoned, as it consists in the study of a language outside historical considerations. An eminent German linguist, Hermann Paul , came to write in 1880 that “the only scientific study of language is the historical method.” Historical linguistics definition

This state of affairs came to an end Ferdinand de Saussure , who restored the scientific dignity of non-historical grammar , and endowed it with powerful historical assumptions that gave it wings to undertake its millenary flight again.

Features Historical linguistics definition

  • A historical language is a complex set of dialects, levels and styles of languages. It is the study of the evolution, through time, of languages.
  • It seeks to investigate and describe the way in which languages ​​change or maintain their structure in the course of time (or between two different empowered points).
  • Its domain is the diachronic aspect of languages. Formulate hypotheses that explain grammatical changes.

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