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Questions tagged [historical-linguistics]

The diachronic study of language and its evolution.

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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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2answers
142 views

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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0answers
48 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
43 views

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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0answers
94 views

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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2answers
846 views

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,...
2
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1answer
68 views

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 ...
8
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4answers
264 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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1answer
90 views

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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2answers
212 views

Who is credited for the syntax tree in synthetic linguistics

I'd like to know if Chomsky is the first person who introduced the tree of phrase structure in linguistics.
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1answer
64 views

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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1answer
63 views

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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1answer
73 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
55 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
364 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 ...
7
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1answer
182 views

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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2answers
72 views

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 ...
6
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5answers
169 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
180 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
286 views

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"?
3
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0answers
81 views

*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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2answers
147 views

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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1answer
162 views

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 *...
7
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3answers
446 views

Development of diphthongs

Is there a specific reason for which diphthongs in German and English words like "mein" and "like" arose? It seems to be a pretty common phenomenon, but somehow it seems to be limited to Germanic ...
5
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1answer
94 views

Click consonant development

Can click consonants arise from non-click consonants?Or are they an original feature of all languages that was lost in the majority of them and only retained in few?
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3answers
130 views

Which languages influenced the Hindustani language spoken in India as of today other than the West Asian languages?

The Hindustani language got influenced by West Asian languages like Persian, Arabic, Turkish etc. I wanted to know apart from the West Asian languages which other languages influenced the Hindustani ...
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0answers
40 views

Pre-Hilalian Hilalian dialects comparaison

What are the main differences between Pre-Hilalian Tunisian dialects ( or any other Maghrebi dialects ) and the Hilalian ones ( Pronunciation , vocabulary ... ) . Let’s take the dialect I speak as an ...
3
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2answers
194 views

Why does Sankr. नक्ति (nákti) not show Satemization

Did Sanskrit नक्ति (nákti) "night", PIE *nókʷts, not participate in the kentum-satem split? Why? Is it a loan? There are at least two synonyms, if that makes any difference. I have no actual reason ...
2
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3answers
212 views

Hurrian and Indogermanic

Some historical linguists include Hurrian words in the reconstruction of Proto-Indogermanic. However, cognates between Hurrian and Indogermanic languages are mainly restricted to Greek and to the ...
8
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2answers
194 views

How did Latin get its stress pattern?

As far as I know, Latin had a word-initial accent for some time of its history after losing the Indo-European accent. I am wondering why Latin then switched to an ante-/pen-ultima stress pattern.
5
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3answers
149 views

Is the existence of a mixed branch of Indo-European plausible?

I was thinking about the possible existence of a branch of the Indo-European family that combines features of several branches. For example, a branch that is something in between the Germanic and ...
3
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1answer
105 views

Homophones in Proto-Germanic

Does anyone know reconstructed homophones in Proto-Germanic or where I could look them up? I am interested in clear homophones, not polysemes.
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1answer
225 views

Which alphabetic writing system first had spaces between words?

Just recently, I believed that spaces between words were first invented with the Carolingian minuscule, invented by the English scholar Alcuin of York. As I just discovered, spacing wasn't first ever ...
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0answers
41 views

In what ways did the Insular Indic languages morphologically diverge from Maharashthri Prakrit?

Maharashtri Prakrit is the antecedent southern zone language to all insular Indic languages. What are some characteristics, morphologically speaking, which differentiate these insular languages from ...
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2answers
157 views

How are words in native English part of the vocabulary typically so short to forestall morphemic spelling?

Why Do Languages Change? (2010) by R. L. Trask (1944-2004). pp. 138, 139. This habit of retaining French spellings in English contributed to another prominent feature of modern English spelling. ...
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0answers
50 views

Rhotic gutturalization in French

While reading my tutor's paper I came across a term which I would like to understand better. Uvular trill [R] appears in certain French dialects. That sound often changes into a voiced uvular ...
6
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1answer
111 views

Statistical Methods in Etymology

Etymologists tend to categorize the probability of theories under formulaic labels. These range from "uncertain" over "tentative" or "not convincing" to "established", "accepted" or "nonsense". P ...
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4answers
143 views

Halegannada/Proto-South Dravidian Phonological Changes

What is the explanation behind the /p/ to /h/ phonological change from Halegannada to Kannada?
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2answers
63 views

How do generativists account for apparent diachronic processes that cause errors in linguistic performance to become cemented as competence?

Many diachronic processes of language change appear to derive from synchronic errors in linguistic performance. How do generativists account for this if performance and competence are separate? If ...
3
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2answers
122 views

Which Romance Language retains the most words from Celtic?

It is known that they were once the same language, Proto Italo-Celtic, however with the descendants of Latin and the remaining Celtic languages, which Romance Language retains the most influence from ...
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2answers
401 views

Origin of h as a modifier letter

A silly what-if question that sounds a bit mad: I am curious as to why the letter "H" in English and some other European languages is used as a modifier to make diglyphs represent a single phoneme (ch,...
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1answer
92 views

What is a loan creation?

How is it different from a loanword? One example given was mitkind created on stimulus of English sibling. Does this mean mitkind is a new word but with a foreign sense? Is there such thing as loaning ...
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3answers
198 views

I have some questions about deciphering an ancient language

I’m very fascinated in learning new languages. I want to know: It is possible to decipher and learn how to talk in a ancient language? How to decipher at home any ancient language? Such as Ancient ...
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0answers
48 views

Pronunciation of Fermat in Gascon/Occitan

A math professor mentioned that the final segment of Fermat's name would probably have been pronounced [t] because of "where he was from." She didn't clarify further but I looked up where he's from ...
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2answers
204 views

What linguistic impact, if any, has the the Roman three name naming system left on modern Romance and European languages?

The ancient Romans had a three name system (tria nomina): praenomen, the birth/given name; the nomen, like a family name but marking the person as belonging to a specific gens; and the cognomen, of ...
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1answer
122 views

What makes certain sounds linguistically “rarer” than others?

Every sound is equally as capable of being performed by the human mouth, and I (correct me if I'm wrong) remember my psychology teacher telling me that infants go and say every sound babbling - even ...
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Jobs in Historical Linguistics

As a someone interested in Linguistics, after I leave school I would like to pursue this interest into my later life, as a career, but the majority of my nearby universities only teach the more ...
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153 views

How can all languages be considered equally “good” at expressing ideas when language had to evolve from something more primitive?

At the moment I am reading Guy Deutscher's "The Unfolding of Language", in which he hypothesises that modern human language began as sequences of individual words (e.g. "girl run climb tree" or "do ...
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1answer
29 views

What is the articulatory nature of [lʲ] and how is it normally lenited world wide, especially compared to [l]?

[l] is lenited in some languages like English (dark L), and in Polish (Ł). How is [lʲ] developed further if it does?