Historical Linguistics: Reconstruction and prehistory
Historical Linguistics: Change, reconstruction LING 400 Winter 2010 Overview Reconstruction Time-depth Conversative vs. innovative languages Reconstruction and prehistory
More historical change Morphological, morphosyntactic Semantic For further learning about historical linguistics: LING 454 please turn off your cell phone
Time-depth Persian is an old language. All (modern) daughters of proto-language have equal time-depth. Time-depth Proto-Indo-European:
5000-6000 years ago Proto-Germanic: 2500-3500 Oldest IE written documents Hittite 1300 B.C. Sanskrit 1200 B.C. Greek 1000 B.C. (Mycenean earlier) Reconstruction The comparative method
assemble cognates deduce proto-form, meaning Reconstructible Not necessarily attested in all branches *gw- drink Hittite Latin brius drunk A cognate set
Sanskrit [snu] daughter-in-law Old English [snoru] daughter-in-law Old Church Slavonic [snxa] daughter-in-law Latin [nurus] daughter-in-law
Greek [nus] daughter-in-law Armenian [nu] bride, daughter-in-law Albanian [nuse] bride Reconstruction *sn or *n? daughter-in-law
Latin nix, niv- snow English snow PIE *sneigw - to snow vs. Latin ne- not Old English ne not PIE *ne not [u], OCS , OE [o] < *u Medial *s? *? r? Sanskrit *s > / u__
Latin s > r/ V__V, Germanic Greek, Armenian *s > 0 / V__V (ending, accent) PIE *snu|sos daughter-in-law or bride? most early IE societies patriarchal and patrilocal daughter-in-law in most; bride restricted Conservative vs. innovative
Sanskrit [snu] < *snu|sos conserves [sn], [u]; accent innovates *s > / u__ Albanian [nuse] bride conserves [u], medial [s] innovates *s > 0 / __n, semantics Reconstruction and prehistory Calvert Watkins: the lexicon of a language remains the single most effective way of approaching and understanding the culture of its speakersThe reconstruction of
vocabulary can offer a fuller, more interesting view of the culture of a prehistoric people than archaeology precisely because it includes nonmaterial culture. Proto-Indo-European *medu u- mead, honey *daiwer- husbands brother *wifes relatives
*sneigw - snow *laks- salmon (lox) *mori- body of water; lake (?), sea (?) (mermaid) *gr-no -no grain (> corn) *owi- sheep (> ewe) *dem- house, household *dem()- to build (> timber)
*kwel- to revolve, go around, *kw(e)-kwl-o- wheel Historical linguistics 1786 Sir William Jones observed similarities between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Latin, Gothic, Celtic, Old Persian 19th century: reconstruction of PIE 20th century on Hittite, Tocharian Comparative method applicable elsewhere Major branches of Athabaskan family
38 daughter languages Language change Languages may change on various levels phonetics, phonology morphology syntax semantics
Morphemes disappear PA Deg Xinag mans daughter *-tshe -[th] arm *-q :ne -[qon] Witsuwiten -[tsh] -- Tsekene
--[kn] Paradigm leveling Elimination of irregularity among morphologically related forms Babine-Carrier progressive Witsuwiten future
:ce: blueberry e berry Where was ProtoAthabaskan spoken? Michael Krauss the PA homeland (Urheimat) was in eastern Alaska, interior, perhaps extending into Canada already.
Considerations Deep vs. shallow differentiation Location of related languages Reconstructed vocabulary Differentiation Deep differentiation: long occupation of territory Alaska, western BC
Closely related: recent spread Mackenzie R. Pacific Coast Apachean Na-Dene family Related languages Usually nearby
Eyak mouth of Copper R. Tlingit Alaska panhandle Reconstructed vocabulary Mountains and snow *ts mountain
*a: snowshoe *u: ice, icicle, glacier 1910 map Hudson Bay Mt., B.C. Summary All languages change over time Change occurs at all levels of grammar Earlier stages can often be reconstructed, with implications for prehistory Question
Bronze Age 3300-1200 BC (bronze < copper+tin) PIE *ajes- copper or bronze (attested in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit) Iron Age (1300 BC on) (iron, steel) *isarno iron only attested in Germanic, Celtic Are *ajes and *isarno relevant to dating of PIE? (PIE estimated 5000-6000 BC.)
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