Questions tagged [historical-linguistics]

The diachronic study of language and its evolution.

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5
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1answer
177 views

Evolution of [v] to [b] and vice versa

There are many examples that show that two phones [v] and [b] are related: b v Meaning Old English to New English * habban have have Middle Persian to New Persian varan baran rain Middle Persian ...
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69 views

What is the origin of the pronunciation difference between 'replicate' (noun) and 'replicate' (verb)?

In English, the noun 'replicate' is pronounced with a schwa (ə) at the end while the verb is pronounced with the diphthong 'eɪ'. The same is true for the word 'duplicate'. Is there a more general ...
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1answer
123 views

Examples of ě₁ palatalization

"The distinction between *ě₁ and *ě₂ is based on etymology and have different effects on a preceding consonant: *ě₁ triggers the first palatalization and then becomes *a, while *ě₂ triggers the ...
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Borrowing And Spread Of European Proverbs

Proverbs are easily spread from one language to another and are conveyed through linguistic communication paths. (Wikipedia, 2021) Meider considers four possible sources of common proverbs in European ...
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2answers
575 views

How to best clean a large historical corpus ridden with OCR errors

Overview: I have a very large corpus of historical news papers (17th-20th cent.). The word count is about 20 bln. It's raw OCR-ed data in txt-files of about 150 GB. One newspaper issue per file (some ...
9
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2answers
819 views

Is there a form descending from Latin genitive plural somewhere in modern Romance languages?

The Latin genitive plurals in -rum are very noticeable in the paradigm. Be it first declension in -ārum, second in -ōrum, or fifth in -ērum, they are heavyweight, attract accent and basicall stand out ...
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56 views

Reconstructing pre-Tiberian pronunciation of Hebrew texts?

Has anyone attempted to reconstruct the pronunciation / phonological form of the Torah as it would have been heard at the time of the fixing of the consonantal text (ca. 6th c. BCE)? So, just as a ...
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1answer
43 views

In what century did people start using the word “profession”?

I need to find out in what century the word "profession" appeared. My final goal: to understand whether this word could be used in the Middle Ages in everyday communication, in the meaning ...
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2answers
364 views

Did Proto-Indo-European put the adjective before or behind the noun?

Did PIE put the adjective behind the noun (like Romance languages usually do) or before the noun (like Germanic languages)?
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2answers
356 views

Apparent exceptions to the sound law f -> h in old Spanish

At some point during the evolution of Spanish, several initial [f] became silent (this is represented with an h in modern Spanish). This explains words such as hacer, harina, herir and many more. ...
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87 views

Is the Greek ζ related to the Chinese 子?

I wonder whether there is any connections between the two letters. After all, they are both similar to the Phoenician Sade letter, and the Phoenicians were the dominant culture of the Mediterranean ...
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1answer
58 views

Why do some historical linguists use the phrasing 'can have' rather than 'could/may have' when talking of changes of uncertain provenance?

And is it a modern thing? My intuition is that this is more frequent in contemporary writers. I have seen it throughout Ringe's two volumes on English, in Owens on Arabic, and (though I can't bring ...
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Advances in Glottochronology

I have read some old works on lexicostatistics and glottochronology, like Swadesh's original articles or this work, where using Swadesh's basic assumptions, the author obtains a temporal estimation ...
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Why do some Indo-European languages have genders and some don't?

In some languages, like German and French, every noun has a gender and each gender has its article. Whereas languages like English and Persian do not have genders. Why is that? Even though these ...
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76 views

How is a language's classification decided upon ? (or modified)

If a new language is discovered or if a study shows that a certain language should be reclassified, is there a committee(s) that decides on this ? (who ?)
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Case Study: Classifying the origin of a word

Let's say we have a Country 'A' that spoke a Language 'A'. In Language 'A' (LA) they had the word "Shamish" (IPA: /ʃamɪʃ/) A Language 'X' (LX) is gaining ground in Country 'A' and they have ...
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2answers
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Why are mixed languages so rare?

It seems to be an established fact that mixed languages are rare, and that most languages can be classified as belonging to some family. And this seems to be true; for example, in the former ...
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1answer
105 views

Is most of the world's languages being in a small number of families a recent development? Or has there always been cycles of linguistic expansion?

I've always found it curious that the languages spoken by an overwhelming proportion of the human population can be traced to a small number of proto-languages that were each spoken by only a small ...
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3answers
203 views

How did verb conjugation by person, number and gender appear? Why do we still use it?

I'm Russian native,learning German and English. I'm interested in teaching myself some linguistics. Russian verb inflects for person, number in present and future tense; for gender in past tense. ...
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1answer
108 views

Classification of Languages

I have heard that languages like Portuguese and French are classified as Romance languages. Languages like Dutch and German are classified as Germanic languages. All of the Scandinavian languages ...
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113 views

Origin of English's phrasal possessive

This site claimed that the phrasal possessive in English came from French influence, while the synthetic possessive is Germanic. Germanic Pattern: the king’s son - cf. German "des Königs Sohn&...
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2answers
325 views

How widespread across language families is the root, krt, meaning cut/short?

How widespread across language families is the root, krt, meaning cut/short? This root is prevalent across the Indo-European and Semitic language families. It may have spread across languages like ...
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1answer
91 views

Number of tones in Cantonese vs. Mandarin and final stops

The emergence of tones in Chinese languages (and actually most tonal languages) is, roughly speaking, due to the loss of final consonnants of syllables at an earlier stage of the language. In ...
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1answer
139 views

Why are sound changes regular?

Say, there is a word that used to be pronounced [ten] but gradually shifted to [tin]. I get it. There is always variety in how people pronounce words. Throw in some population dynamics, and the median ...
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117 views

What kind of features support the claim that Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages?

Inspired by this answer to a different question, I ask what kind of features justify a claim that Balto-Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages. The features ...
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1answer
89 views

Semitic and Hebrew etymology

Semitic has historically been used to describe ancient languages spanning from Oman to Morocco through Egypt and Somalia. Today, Antisemitic is different to it's etymology, it doesnt refer to berber ...
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1answer
89 views

Status of Nordwestblock / Ancient Belgian hypothesis

What is the status of the Nordwestblock or Ancient Belgian hypothesis right now? This hypothesis was proposed independently by two authors in the 1960ies (Kuhn and Gysseling) and is about an ...
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1answer
115 views

Term for when speakers of L1, over time, pronounce words in their language like phonetically similar words found in the more dominant L2?

I am looking for the name of the following phenomenon: Speakers of Language 1 transplant a given word to a new environment in which Language 2 is the dominant language spoken in the area. Language 2 ...
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1answer
56 views

Are Turkish aorist (wide-tense) verbs originally finite or nonfinite?

There are countless examples in Turkish of third person aorist forms in -A/Ir or -mAz (negative form) which are employed as nouns: gelir (income), gider (spending), yazar (writter) or adjective su ...
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1answer
268 views

Why is reconstructed PIE so typologically unusual?

I'm probably not the first to notice that a large number of features of reconstruct Proto-Indo-European are typological irregularities. The most famous of these probably being the voiceless/voiced/...
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1answer
78 views

Popular book(s) recommendation for start learning Linguistics keeping an interest in the Indus Valley script in mind

Recently, I have gathered enough interest in the subject Linguistics. As I came to know that Indus Valley scripts are among the last remaining undeciphered scripts of the ancient world, I gained more ...
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Where is the Slavic homeland, according to linguists, and how do they know that?

UPDATE: After posting the question, I found out, to my great disappointment, that Manhunt Unabomber is only loosely based on real events, so I'm rephrasing the question: Where is the Slavic homeland, ...
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79 views

What does @ mean? [closed]

What does “@“ sign mean in phonology or historical linguistics? I saw “*@” in the context of restriction.
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1answer
125 views

What does the double colon sign (::) mean in phonology?

What does the :: sign mean in phonology or historical linguistics? Here's an example I saw: yeri :: yatu
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2answers
103 views

Decipherment challenge

I am not a linguist, but I'm looking for examples of decipherment competitions when multiple linguists have tried to independently translate the same script. I know only this one: Rawlinson, H., ...
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2answers
136 views

How do Agglutinative Features/Languages develop out of Fusional Features/Languages?

Does anyone know about the development of agglutinative languages out of fusional languages, or, more precisely, agglutinative features out of fusional features? I am thinking in particular about the ...
6
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1answer
171 views

Are dative governing verbs in IE languages mainly inherited from PIE, or later developed within each IE language?

Some typical dative governing verbs in many IE case-inflecting languages are "help", "give" etc.. Are they mainly inherited from PIE or are they developed within each language? If ...
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34 views

a-stem genitive singular in NW Germanic languages

This is a classic problem and I'm not sure I expect a good answer to it, but it's worth it anyway. The question is partly about what appears to be some specious reasoning around Verner's Law forms and ...
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107 views

Why can “however” be used independently, when “but” cannot?

According to Purdue OWL, there are two kinds of words that can be used as connectors at the beginning of independent clauses: coordinating conjunctions (so, yet, but, and) and independent marker words ...
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1answer
69 views

Are there geographic or cultural patterns in surname etymologies?

I was reading in Wikipedia that the origins of European surnames can be classified into categories like patronymics, occupational, toponymics and nicknames. If this classification is old or incomplete ...
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2answers
217 views

I have read that in Mishnaic Hebrew, some pronounced the 6th letter as waw/w and some as vav/v What is the evidence of this?

I have read that in Mishnaic Hebrew, some pronounced the 6th letter as waw/w and some as vav/v What is the evidence of this? I see it mentioned here https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/%D7%95-vav-...
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56 views

What's the name of the effect where linguistic diversity is far more pronounced in a language's homeland?

I've always just used the term "homeland effect" for this, but websearches suggest that that is not actually its name and probably something I made up at some point. What I'm talking about ...
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2answers
283 views

Is Ruki sound law a Satem “Rhotacism”

Is Ruki sound law a Satem variant of "Rhotacism" English PIE Russian ear h₂ṓws ухо /úxo/ sear *sh₂ews- сухо /súxo/ deer *dʰéws дух /dux/ alder h₂élis- ольха /olʹxá/ their ??? тех /tex/
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1answer
209 views

Spelling of monotonous [closed]

All, I am just curious why 'monotonous' is spelled as mo·​not·​o·​nous and not as mono.tonus following the Greek origin of the word as mono + tone. Mono and tone could be spelled alone and actually ...
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2answers
196 views

Why do Chinese and Hindi have more terms for relatives than English does?

I was thinking about labels we assign family members (like cousin, grand mother etc.) and it struck me that in my native language of Hindi, we have different labels for maternal and paternal family ...
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3answers
3k views

Are there any languages that have a pronoun which is only used to refer to royalty?

I can recall reading an article years ago which claimed that some languages have unused "royal" pronouns. That is, these pronouns were only used to refer to royalty as a show of respect or ...
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1answer
412 views

Was it ever common to pronounce “wife's” as “wives”?

Spelling, in principle, should reflect pronunciation, but I've also read that the opposite can happen, and that the pronunciation of a word already in circulation can be changed by altering/...
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49 views

Quantification of rate of sound change in multiple languages

This question from over four years ago never got a definitive answer, perhaps because no 'rankings' of sound change rates existed at that time. I would like to revive it (in particular for sound ...
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0answers
26 views

Historical development from adjective to concrete noun to more abstract noun

I'd really appreciate any knowledge or advice on further reading about the following. Excuse my naivete- I am at the start of this investigation. I'm studying an historical corpus and I have found a ...
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1answer
175 views

Etymology of ぐるぐる

Since it's written in Hiragana, I presume it is likely not a recent loan word. However, its pronounciation bears resemblance to "軲轆", a Mandarin word meaning wheel--similar to ぐるぐる's meaning ...

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