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Questions tagged [history-of-linguistics]

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Recent Breakthroughs in Linguistics

Is there such a thing as a breakthrough in linguistics that, for example, can be likened to the discovery of gravitational waves in physics such that it gives a great boost in understanding how ...
Shpekard's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
108 views

Etymological link between “govern” and “born”

So my question is two-fold. Specific and more general. I was doing some genealogy research and I was trying to read some Yiddish (I don’t understand Yiddish), and I thought a line said a certain ...
Daniel Elfenbein's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
291 views

When did people realize French has its root in Latin?

By investigating into historical documents like Oaths of Strasbourg and applying the comparative method, modern linguists are able to know French is a Romance language. When the components of ...
jywu's user avatar
  • 159
2 votes
0 answers
112 views

How did Otto Jespersen figure out the Great Vowel Shift?

How did Otto Jespersen figure out the Great Vowel Shift? Surely, there were no pronunciation audio recordings available. How did he know how British people had pronounced vowels centuries ago? Have ...
Youngsub Yoon's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
439 views

Why does Chomsky consider recursion in language to be a "narrow" ability unique to humans?

There is a well-known classification of four varieties of grammars, differing in complexity, from unlimited to regular. These grammars correspond to four classes of automata in computer science: ...
Wasabi Kurosawa's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
116 views

Seemingly discipline-wide dismissal of Linguistic Relativity and Post-Structuralism: Who still works with and supports these theories?

Many academics appear to immediately dismiss the mention of linguistic relativity/ Sapir-Whorf hypothesis because its been... supposedly debunked? I am wondering if the theory's critics offer a ...
spiralwise's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why was "zh" picked to represent /ʒ/, and where does it come from?

As a native French speakers I used to be puzzled by Zh being used for /ʒ/. At first because I didn't understand the need for it, since in French j is /ʒ/, and dj is /dʒ/. Then I understood why English ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
168 views

A timeline of schools and theories

Is there an academic source for a timeline of schools and theories of linguistics? I can’t find any good source. This is sort of what I’m looking for (https://prezi.com/d2261rzsz3ah/history-of-...
user15493's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
130 views

What is (or was) the exative case?

Inspired by this finding I'd like to know what the exative case described by Taplin for south-australian languages is or was. It does not seem to be modern terminology any longer, and lists of ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
263 views

When and by whom were the terms 'ergative case' and 'absolutive case' coined?

The terms 'ergative' and 'absolutive' indicate cases in ergative-absolutive languages. The terms themselves derive from Greek respectively Latin roots. Given that Greek and Latin are not themselves ...
JanKanis's user avatar
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2 answers
176 views

Saussure and Modern Linguistics

To my knowledge, Chomsky and most other modern linguists rarely ever mention Saussure. Do they still agree that language is an arbitrary and differential system? If not, what happened exactly that ...
John Smith's user avatar
-6 votes
2 answers
126 views

What was the first human language (lets call it X) for which there is actually an X-English dictionary?

I have found that Adam and Eve spoke Adamic language. But for that there is no X-English dictionary. Then in the Tower of Babel they said that the first one was Hebrew, which is my guess here. Thank ...
Jan's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
406 views

How are languages classified into families?

I have heard that languages like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French are classified as Romance languages. Languages like Dutch, German, and English are classified as Germanic languages. All of ...
Arunabh's user avatar
  • 109
3 votes
1 answer
333 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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
191 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., ...
Balazs Aczel's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
595 views

What's "Contemporary" Linguistics? What exactly is contemporary?

Academic linguistics commenced pretty recently, compared to other sciences. So what does "Contemporary" in "Contemporary Linguistics" mean? What exactly is signified, if a book ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
828 views

What is the relationship of Proto-Indo-European, Indo-European, Proto-Germanic and Germanic?

I know that Indo-European is the name of a family of languages that includes nearly all the major tongues of Europe and several outside Europe, such as Persian and Hindi. Germanic is a sub-category of ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
4k views

What is the difference between generative grammar and transformation grammar?

If we put it in a simple way, can we say generative grammar is about tree diagram, and transformation grammar is how sentences can be interpreted in another way?
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
174 views

Some scholars says that you cannot make the plural and feminine form of word Allah from arabic linguistic perspective [closed]

Is it possible from arabic linguistic perspective to make the plural and feminine form of word الله? for example اللهون plural form of word الله and اللت feminine form of word الله because in Arabic, ...
Bilal Khan's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
233 views

Is Rigveda the oldest religious recorded text (grandha)in the world? [closed]

Rigveda is considered to be the oldest recorded religious writings(grandha) book may be by the Indians.I do not know Whether it is a fact or not.Even the Wikipedia says so. Is Rigveda the oldest ...
Jvlnarasimharao's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is Panini really the father of Linguistics?

I here with attach a link which shows that Panini is the father of Linguistics. Even professors of English from the English And Foreign languages, Hyderabad say that he is the father of linguistics ...
Jvlnarasimharao's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
205 views

Is language "necessarily underspecified"?

I've read an exam question given in a class on Semantics, that was asking Why is language necessarily underspecified I did not find much about this at the time, which is surprising because it ...
vectory's user avatar
  • 1,412
6 votes
3 answers
540 views

When were linguistics departments first established

Linguistics differs in studying languages from other fields such as English, French and so on, by concentrating on theoretical parts that are shared by all languages. I wonder when was the first ...
E Zhang's user avatar
  • 314
3 votes
2 answers
610 views

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?
Sorb's user avatar
  • 67
9 votes
4 answers
702 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 ...
Aer's user avatar
  • 520
7 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
arara's user avatar
  • 189
2 votes
1 answer
99 views

How did students learn semantics, if it were belittled from 1910-1965?

Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication (2017 7 ed). p. 225 Middle.   Semantics has not always enjoyed a prominent role in modern linguistics. From World War I to the early 1960s ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
103 views

Zellig Harris and the alphabet

I would be very interested if someone could provide me with a useful link to read Zellig Harris's text on the origin of the alphabet. The reference is: Harris, Zellig S. 1933. “Acrophony and ...
Javier Arias's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
351 views

Cultural bias in early modern Western linguistics

I answered a question on this site yesterday where in my answer, I alluded to a problem with cultural bias in early modern Western linguistics. I tried my best search engine fu to come up with a good ...
tripleee's user avatar
  • 716
1 vote
1 answer
153 views

Comprehensive phonological sketches post-SPE

Is anyone aware of a comprehensive phonological grammar of a language, along the lines of SPE, Sound Pattern of Russian or Chomsky's thesis on Hebrew, written in a framework that postdates SPE? I ...
Michael D's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

When was the concept of verbs' principal parts codified, and by whom?

For example, I'm wondering whether the Greek/Roman grammarians already wrote about six/four basic forms based on which a Greek/Latin verb can be conjugated in all its forms. If they did, did they ...
Corvus Corax's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was language invented only once or several times?

We have over 5000 language on Earth as of now, some extant and others not. These all came from what we now call proto languages, but do scientists believe that all proto languages came from one "mono-...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 211
3 votes
0 answers
969 views

Who first said that no two words mean the exact same?

A friend of mine told me that German philologists (whom he did not name) in the 18th century were the first ones to argue that in any natural language no two words can mean exactly the same. Is this ...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
512 views

Who said "The difference between a language and a dialect is in who has the army"

I remember this from a linguistics professor I had in graduate school about 30 years ago. He named the source, but I can't remember.
Vekzhivi's user avatar
  • 203
2 votes
0 answers
1k views

What exactly does the ding-dong theory of the origin of language state, according to Max Müller?

Max Müller is mentioned as one of the pioneers of the study of the origins of language, as he created a typology for the earlier origin of language theories based on the channel they draw the ...
Probably's user avatar
  • 597
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Earliest recognition that Germanic and Romance languages are related

A recent question here, Earliest recognition that Romance languages are related asks for when in history it was first noted that individual Romance languages were recognized as ... similar/related/...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 4,475
3 votes
1 answer
836 views

What is the current status of (systemic) functional grammar/linguistics

I'm sorry if my questions may sound rudimentary, so please bear with me. :-) I'm thinking of delving deeper into functional grammar/linguistics (most probably systemic in particular), perhaps with ...
nnad's user avatar
  • 69
1 vote
1 answer
129 views

Which famous linguists embrace historical logic to understand language?

[Source:] As other commenters have noted, looking for logic in language is almost always futile. No natural language is logical. But there is a historical logic to language development; even if the ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
327 views

How and why did Prof James D. McCawley become disillusioned with math?

During this time he became disillusioned with mathematics, and after sitting in on a linguistics course taught by Eric Hamp, he became more and more interested in the subject and began taking language ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

How old is linguistics as a discipline?

I hear a lot of people talk about how "new" linguistics is, or how "small" it is compared to other fields. Pāṇini studied grammar in the 4th century BC. Surely it didn't take until recent history to ...
RECURSIVE FARTS's user avatar