Linguistics and Language

Topics: Linguistics, Noam Chomsky, Indo-European languages Pages: 9 (2713 words) Published: May 17, 2012
inguidRepublic of the Philippines
Urdaneta City

Course Number:CAE211
Course Title:Introduction to Linguistics and Communication Theories Professor:Dr. Merlita Q. Santos
Discussant:Herbert M. Tabios

The Breakthrough of Linguistics Science (1820-1960)

a. 1820 to 1875

Jacob Grimm

Grimm's law

Grimm's law (also known as the First Germanic Sound Shift or the Rask's-Grimm's rule), named for Jacob Grimm, is a set of statements describing the inherited Proto-Indo-European (PIE) stops as they developed in Proto-Germanic (PGmc, the common ancestor of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family) in the 1st millennium BC. It establishes a set of regular correspondences between early Germanic stops and fricatives and the stop consonants of certain other centum Indo-European languages (Grimm used mostly Latin and Greek for illustration). As it is presently formulated, Grimm's Law consists of three parts, which must be thought of as three consecutive phases in the sense of a chain shift:[1] 1. Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops change into voiceless fricatives. 2. Proto-Indo-European voiced stops become voiceless stops. 3. Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirated stops become voiced fricatives; ultimately, in most Germanic languages these voiced fricatives become voiced stops. The chain shift can be abstractly represented as:

bʰ → b → p → ɸ
dʰ → d → t → θ

Karl Verner

Verner's law, stated by Karl Verner in 1875, describes a historical sound change in the proto-Germanic language whereby voiceless fricatives *f, *þ, *s and *x, when immediately following an unstressed syllable in the same word, underwent voicing and became respectively *b, *d, *z and *g. When Grimm's law was discovered, a strange irregularity was spotted in its operation. The Proto-Indo-European (PIE) voiceless stops *p, *t and *k should have changed into Proto-Germanic (PGmc) *f, *þ (dental fricative) and *x (velar fricative), according to Grimm's Law. Indeed, that was known to be the usual development. However, there appeared to be a large set of words in which the agreement of Latin,Greek, Sanskrit, Baltic, Slavic etc. guaranteed PIE *p, *t or *k, and yet the Germanic reflex was a voiced consonant (*b, *d or *g). At first, irregularities did not give scholars sleepless nights as long as there were many examples of the regular outcome. Increasingly, however, it became the ambition of linguists to formulate general and exceptionless rules of sound change that would account for all the data (or as close to the ideal as possible), not merely for a well-behaved subset of it. One classic example of PIE *t > PGmc *d is the word for 'father', PIE *pH2te:r (here *H2 stands for a laryngeal, and the colon marks vowel length) > PGmc *fade:r (instead of expected *faþe:r). Curiously, the structurally similar family term *bhra:te:r 'brother' developed as predicted by Grimm's Law (Gmc. *bro:þe:r). Even more curiously, we often find both *þ and *d as reflexes of PIE *t in different forms of one and the same root, e.g. *werþ- 'turn', preterite *warþ 'he turned', but e.g. preterite plural and past participle *wurd- (plus appropriate inflections).

August Schleicher

August Schleicher (1821–1868) and his Stammbaumtheorie  is often quoted as the starting point of evolutionary linguistics. Inspired by the natural sciences, especially biology, Schleicher was the first to compare languages to evolving species.[3] He introduced the representation of language families as an evolutionary tree in articles published in 1853. Joseph Jastrow published a gestural theory of the evolution of language in the seventh volume of Science, 1886.[4] The Stammbaumtheorie proved to be very productive for comparative linguistics, but didn't solve the major problem of studying the origin of language: the lack of fossil records. The question of the origin of language was abandoned as unsolvable. Famously, the Société Linguistique de...
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