Historical Linguistics 2022-23
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
This module explores the field of historical linguistics and philology from both a theoretical and a practical viewpoint. Students will learn about theories of language change and will learn to critically evaluate studies of historical language change. They will also acquire practical skills in identifying the origins of words and grammar in languages that they know.
Lectures will introduce students to the big picture and will provide them with concrete and theoretical examples of the topics being discussed, while seminars will be an opportunity to go deeper into the topics in a student-led pedagogical manner.
While the lecturer will provide examples of language change (etc.) from his own experiences, students will be highly encouraged to explore languages of their own choice that they find interesting so as to find their own examples of the kinds of changes being learnt about.
The following types of topics will be covered in lectures and seminars:
- Introduction to historical linguistics
- Exploring Proto-Indo European
- Reconstructive analysis and the comparative method
- Sound change
- Semantic change
- Morphological change
- Issues in Germanic historical linguistics
- Issues in Celtic historical linguistics
- Issues in Romance historical linguistics
-threshold -C : The answer must involve the analysis of language data or the critical analysis of existing linguistic data and/or research from a historical linguistics perspective. The answer must show evidence of some background study of primary sources going beyond material discussed in lectures. The answer must be relevant to the research topic chosen. -good -B : Data and/or review of literature must be collected, organized, and analysed with care and an appreciation must be shown of some of the problems involved with collecting data and/or preparing a review of literature. The answer must show a better-than-average standard of knowledge and understanding of issues in Historical Linguistics. The answer must show evidence of background of primary sources. Assertions must be supported by reference to a theory and/or empirical research.The answer must show evidence of analytical thinking. The answer must have a coherent structure that is adhered to in the most part; relationships between successive parts must be generally easy to follow. -excellent -A : Data and/or review of literature must be evaluated critically in a logical manner. The answer must have an originality of exposition and understanding; the author’s own thinking should be readily apparent. The answer must show an advanced standard of knowledge and understanding of issues in Historical Linguistics. The answer must show clear evidence of extensive reading of primary sources. The answer must show a clear line structure in which each successive stage is explicitly linked and the reader is explicitly told why these parts are relevant to the study.
- Students will be able to explain in detail the different types of sound/syntactic changes that have occurred in any given instance of language change, with critical and evaluative reference to relevant theory.
- Students will be able to perform reconstructive analysis using language data and be able to feed this into their own research projects.
- Students will have a deep understanding of how the etymology of words and grammar can be identified and critically analysed, particularly in the case of Celtic and/or Germanic languages.
- Students will know and engage with a broad range of central and current questions and aims of historical linguistics are by critically evaluating studies in the field.
- Students will know how to compare diverse languages, identify and analyse the similarities and differences between them, and to critically evaluate how those factors illustrate the historical relationship between languages.
- Students will understand in detail the principles and theory underlying language change and how these can be used to describe the history of multiple languages.
- Students will understand in detail the principles of reconstructive analysis in reconstructing languages and how this can inform us on the various mechanisms that occur in language change and factor into their own research.
Essay on a topic in historical linguistics
Analysis of etymology and linguistic reconstruction (take-home exam)