Questions tagged [historical-linguistics]

The diachronic study of language and its evolution.

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Sound Changes From Proto Bengali to Bengali

What are the sound changes that occur from Proto Bengali to Bengali? In which order did they occur historically? Ex. PB Būdhā became B Buro PB Karisi became B koriš PB dahī became B doi
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How did vowel a in L. maneō “to remain” come from PIE *mn-eh₁- “to remain” < PIE *men- “to stay, stand still”?

AHD-IER (Watkins, 2011) P97 gives PIE *man-e- for L. maneō: Variant suffixed (stative) form *man-e-. MANOR, MANSE, MANSION, MENAGE; IMMANENT, PERMANENT, REMAIN, from Latin manere, to remain. ...
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Why is the word “idiot” so similar between multiple languages?

Weird question, granted, but I was just looking around on Google Translate and I noticed that the word "idiot" is basically the same across quite a few languages, here are a few examples: Italian: ...
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Why is Papadopoulos such a common surname in Greece? [migrated]

(I'm not sure if this is the correct Stack Exchange to post this question, if even there is one. Please migrate if needed.) Papadopoulos is the most common Greek surname. It means "son of a priest". ...
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Are there languages that can speak of continous things without discretizing them?

All languages I know of discretize qualities when trying to describe them. For example, languages generally sample a few words for describing a range of continous things like feelings ('terrible', '...
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If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have an implicit glottal stop

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have implicit glottal stop then would the claim about regular laryngeal loss have to be revised? There's a rather recent ...
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Relation between keltoi and galatai?

The ancient Greeks used both words and appeared to have originated both. The first form appears first in 517BC by Hecateus of Milietus. The word is still known in the 12th century AD where it's used ...
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Do Old Indian words with voiceless aspirated stops have cognates in other branches of Indogermanic?

Inspired by this answer by Arnaud Fournet I have this question: Do Old Indic (Vedic, Sankrit) words beginning with a voiceless aspirated stop (like ph, th, or kh) have cognates in other branches of ...
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Resources on Middle Eastern Common Greek in the First Century?

QUESTION: I would like to ask if anyone knows any decent resources on how native middle easterners, particularly in Judea, might have pronounced greek koine in the first century. GOAL: My primary ...
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When did the contraction “Allah” originate?

The Arabic word Allāh "God" is notable for a few different features. For one, it contains the sound [ɫ] not found in any other Arabic word; it's also an irregular contraction of the article al- and ...
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350 views

What language was spoken in East Asia before Proto-Turkic?

From Wikipedia we have: The Proto-Turkic language is the linguistic reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Turkic languages that was spoken by the Proto-Turks before their divergence ...
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What natural symbolic representations could be used for Mathematical constants?

We know mathematics is a language by itself. But to evoke any constants or any arbitrary values as such to solve anything, prior knowledge of a particular symbol and its usage must be understood. ...
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Is there a connection between the Sumerian En and the Semite El?

En means lord in Sumerian and El god or deity in Semitic. Semitic peoples use the word lord as a synonym of god, it seems that the same happens with Sumerian and its gods like Enlil, Enki, Enzu etc. ...
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What can we say about Classical Nahuatl <z>?

Nahuatl has two sibilant fricatives, now pronounced something like [s] and [ʃ]. The standard orthography was developed by Spanish colonizers, who wrote /ʃ/ as x, and /s/ as c before a front vowel, z ...
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Which languages to learn for historical linguistics?

Which languages should one be familiar with if they wanted to get into historical linguistics? Specifically, Indo-European linguistics, reconstructing Proto-Indo-European etc. Which ones would be most ...
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Did the removal of Chinese characters have an impact on Korean and Vietnamese?

Korean and Vietnamese used to have Chinese characters but no longer do; there has been talk (e.g. here) of doing the same in Japanese. Has there been an impact on the language? for instance changed ...
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4answers
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Is there a link between the words red and bread?

While this might sound random at first, I noticed that it works in multiple languages: Danish: brød (bread) = b + rød German: Brot = b + rot English: bread (spoken language) = b + red Is this a ...
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235 views

Is there any relationship between the Hungarian long s sound and the long s in some European languages?

This History SE question (with some references), which enquires about when the f (actually an ſ) became an s and why in English specifically, prompted me to wonder if there was any relationship with ...
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Possible absolute synonymy in PIE for 'night'?

I recently came across this post (question attached). But this rule seems to struggle once it comes to the Sanskrit - Indo-Aryan side of the family (PIE) , for example ratri in Sanskrit and raat in ...
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68 views

Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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Etymology of Romanian “amor” (cf. “iubire”)

I found it interesting to learn that Romanian borrowed this word from a Slavic language as well as the verb "a iubi". I also discovered that the word "amor" is present in Romanian but apparently it ...
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What is the PIE reconstruction for word-initial alpha with rough breathing?

What is the PIE reconstruction for word-initial alpha with rough breathing? My concern is the tendency (popularly) to mistake initial alpha as privative when it is not (e.g. hamartia): The easiest ...
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115 views

Does Jespersen's Cycle apply to languages without negative concord?

In this comment, Rethliopuks mentioned something I'd never really connected in my head before. [Negative concord] is standard in plenty of languages around the world, incl[uding] most Romance ...
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How is “In we go” syntactically valid?

Various simple sentences occur in English that I can't explain precisely. "In we went!" "Off he goes!" Is this an arcane idiom from an earlier grammar, or is there a general rule that can be ...
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Historical morphology of Italian nouns from Latin 3rd declension

Italian is commonly analysed as inheriting the nominative forms of nouns from Vulgar Latin, instead of the accusative ones. But what happened to 3rd declension nouns? It looks like for the majority ...
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The meaning of /ě/ (ѣ)

What does ˇ (haček) in *ě 'yat' mean?
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Nazis considered Slavs as non-Aryans, but did Nazi linguists classified the Slavic languages as “non-Indo-European”?

Nazis considered Slavs as non-Aryans, but did Nazi linguists classified the Slavic languages as "non-Indo-European"? What was the Nazi theory about historical linguistics?
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Why is Greek alphabet left-to-right?

The Greek alphabet and all of its child systems such as Roman, Cyrillic, and Gothic are conventionally left-to-right writting systems. But why is that, considering it comes from the Phoenician ...
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Did Romance languages evolve in Pannonia?

As a sister question of Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa?, I would like to ask what was the situation in Pannonia was there a Pannonian Romance Language and what research is there to it's ...
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Is morphology always attributable to phonological processes?

I am wondering if you can justify the development of most/all morphemes to regular phonological processes if you argue that diachronically those environments existed and have just been lost in modern ...
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Is linguistic change pushed by humor?

Through "meme culture," young people are inventing all sorts of new linguistic constructions purely because they think they sound funny. The interesting thing is that these jokes don't end at a ...
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Pronunciation of umlaut vowels in the history of German

I know that the umlaut vowels were also written as ae oe and ue, and this orthography shows the process of assimilation with a high vowel. But were these vowels ever actually pronounced as a diphthong,...
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The “th” sound in appalachian dialects

I've noticed that the th sound often becomes a plosive sound in Appalachian English. When and how did this phenomenon start?The only case I know where this happens in the british isles is Irish.Does ...
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293 views

Why proto-languages?

Nowadays all the leading works on historical linguistics consider Proto-Slavic (you can put here anything you wish but I will talk about Slavonic studies) language as a fact (yes, there can be said ...
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What's the reason behind the aternation of vowel in the Proto-Germanic suffix “-ungō”/“-ingō”?

I noticed that the form with the u vowel was kept only in High German. All other germanic languages use the form with i,such as Dutch and English. Why is that?Is this the result of some sort of sound ...
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236 views

Who is credited for the syntax tree in synthetic linguistics

I'd like to know who is the first person that introduced the tree of phrase structure in linguistics.
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Pronunciation of final consonants in the history of English

When in the history of the english language did the consonants begin to be pronounced as a glottal stop? I notice this phenomenon is more prevalent in American English at the end of words but ...
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16th Century English

I was wondering that how was the pronunciation of the word "about" in 16th century England. I know that it is different now and is this difference occurred because of The Great Vowel Shift?
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What is the difference between taurus and bovine? [closed]

What is the difference between taurus and bovine? Both words are from Latin and both words refers to cows or the cow family.
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From which language was the Finnish word for “language” derived?

I have noticed that several "Altaic" languages have similar words for "language," but I do not know whether this is a coincidence, or due to historical language contact. The word "kieli" in Finnish ...
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Are bound forms in compounds more resistant to sound changes?

In English, words like cleanliness or breakfast have preserved an older vowel than those in the free forms clean and break. In Japanese, compound noun accent tends to match between dialects, even ...
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376 views

Loss of final s in Italian

Why and how did Italian lose the final s consonant in words,while some romance languages like spanish and portuguese retained it?(e.g. spanish "pues" and italian "poi").Is this phenomenon related to ...
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Etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings

I was wondering, what the etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings -are, -ere and -ire was. I assume they are Indo-European, but I haven't found any information about it.
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When was the first bicameral script developed?

The Wikipedia article on letter case says this without citing any references: Both majuscule and minuscule letters existed, but the difference between the two variants was initially stylistic ...
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Apart from French, does any language have voicing-dependent change of place of articulation?

The outcome of Romance velar palatalization in French depends on the voicing of the consonant: Lat. ankilla → OFr. [antsele] but Lat. argilla → OFr. [ardʒile]. This is also reflected in words borrowed ...
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Could someone illuminate for me how PGmc *suma and *sama(n) were derived?

Ie, I am assuming that they are both ultimately deriviative of PIE *sem-/*som-. So, how are they derived from this, in terms of morphemes, and their meanings? I have skimmed through both Ringe and ...
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How does Metathesis work?

How does it happen? What motivated latin "parabola" to change into Spanish "palabra" and why does english "ask" is often changed to "aks"?
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*through* vs. *tough*: ME*-ough* /uːx/ > –? How are the sound shifts from ME -ough explained?

How is it explained that the sound sequence /uːx/ -ough has developed so differently in different words? Not-dipthongized in through, shortened and unrounded and retained fricative in tough, lowered ...
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Question about the proto-Germanic root hampijaną

This question came as I analyzed the origin of the english words "happy" and "happen" and after my research i found the reconstructed proto-germanic root "hampijaną". However i found that this root ...
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Latin “niger” from *negʷ-?

Could Latin niger "black", of uncertain origin, come from *negʷ- "bare, naked"? For an analogy, compare black, blank, Spanish blanco "white, argent", and their roots PGem *blakaz "burnt", PGem *...