A History of English
Chapter 2
The Pre-history of English
1
The Indo-European Languages and
Linguistic Relatedness
The Beginnings
Timeline: from the first indications of
nomadic tribes in Lapland around 8000
BCE to the settlement of the Angles,
Saxons, Jutes in 449 CE
2
700
English
500
400
Armenian
Gothic
0
200
Latin
400
Classical Sanskrit
800
Greek
1000
Old Persian
1200
Hittite
1500
Vedic Sanskrit
3000
Proto Indo-European
3
Sources:
Archaeological record
Linguistic reconstruction
Insights from modern dialectology
Anthropology (Agriculture)
4
The Development of Historical
Linguistics
Evolutionary Nature: Charles
Darwin
Analogy to biological theories:
life-cycle, genealogy, family tree,
common ancestors
August Schleicher, Family Tree
Theory/Stammbaumtheorie
5
Genetic Relatedness
Indo-European language family and its
sub-families
Biological metaphor: various languages
belong to different families and bear
offspring
Family tree metaphor
6
Genetic Relatedness
Example
E ng lis h
Germa n
Swe d is h
F inn is h
one
e in s
en
yks i
two
zw ei
tv Œ
k a ksi
th re e
d re i
tre
k o lm e
fo u r
v ie r
fy ra
n e lj Š
fiv e
fŸnf
fe m
v ii si
s ix
s e chs
sex
k u us i
7
Numerals in Indo-European and nonIndo-European languages
English
Gothic
Latin
Greek
Sanskrit
Chinese
Japanese
one
ains
unus
heis
ekas
i
hitotsu
two
twai
duo
duo
dva
erh
futatsu
three
Trija
tres
treis
trayas
san
mittsu
four
fidwor
quattuor
tettares
catvaras
su
yottsu
five
fimf
quinque
pente
panca
wu
itsutsu
six
saihs
sex
heks
sat
liu
muttsu
seven
sibun
septem
hepta
sapta
ch’i
nanatsu
eight
ahtau
octo
okto
asta
pa
yattsu
nine
niun
novembe ennea
nava
chiu
kokonotsu
ten
taihun
decem
dasa
shih
to
deka
8
Sound correspondences in IE
English
Latin
Greek
Irish
fish
father
foot
for
piscis
pater
ped–
pro
ikhthys
pater
pod–
para
iasg
athair
troigh
do
six
seven
sweet
salt
sex
septem
suavis
sal
hexa
hepta
hedys
hal
se
seacht
millis
salann
new
night
nine
novus
noct–
novem
neos
nykt–
(en)nea
nua
(in)nocht
naoi
9
Genetic Relatedness
Example
Mann, man, man
Hand, hand, hand
Tier, djur, deer
The individual differences depend
on the history of each language
after it has split off from the larger
group and developed
independently
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Genetic Relatedness
Cognates
E n g lis h
G erm a n
Sw ed is h
Fre n c h
It a lia n
S p a ni s h
w in ter
W inter
v int e r
h iver
in ver n o
in vi e rno
fo o t
Fu s s
fo t
p ied
p iede
p ie
tw o
z we i
tv Œ
d e ux
due
dos
me
m ic h
m ig
m oi
me
me
11
Sir William Jones
Third Anniversary Discourse Calcutta
1786
The Sanskrit Language, whatever be ist antiquity, is of a
wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious
than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet
bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of
verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have
been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer
could examine them all three, without believing them to have
sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer
exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for
supposing that both the Celtic […] had the same origin with the
Sanskrit; and the Old Persian might be addded to the same
family.
12
Sir William Jones
13
Sound correspondences between Sanskrit,
Latin and Greek
Sanskrit
asmi
asi
asti
smas
stha
santi
Latin
sum
es
est
sumus
estis
sunt
Greek
eini
ei
esti
esmen
este
eisi
14
The Indo-European Language Family:
eminent early scholars
Franz Bopp (1816)
Rasmus Rask (1814): the first linguist to
describe formally the regularity of sound
changes
Jakob Grimm
15
16
17
The Indo-European
Language Family
Proto-language: unitary language
Ursprache; parent language
Grundsprache: Latin for French,
Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Rumanian
Sister language: Latin and Greek
Daughter language: French of Latin
18
The language family metaphor
A parent language does not live on after
a daughter language is born
Birth metaphor is incorrect
Contact is still there between sister
languages
Languages diverge as well as converge
19
August Schleicher
20
21
Latin
Old English
Gothic
/p/  /f/
pedum
piscis
fot
fisc
fotus
fiskis
/t/  /θ/
tres
tu
three
thou
thrir
thuu
/k/  /x/h/
cordem
centum
heart
hundred
hairto
hund
/b/  /p/
turba ‘crowd’
thorp ‘village’
/d/  /t/
edo
decem
eat
ten
itan
taihun
/g/  /k/
ager
genus
acre
kin
akrs
kuni
IE
Old English
Gothic
*bhero
*dhura
*ghostis
beran
duru
gasts
baíra
daúr
giest
/bh/  /b/
/dh/  /d/
/dh/  /d/
22
On comparative
reconstruction
Internal reconstruction
Reconstruction of languages that do no
longer exist
pater, */pEter/
23
24
Indo-European 500 AD
25
Indo-European 500 BC
26
The Indo-European World
27
Indo-European Subfamilies in
Europe
28
IE World
29
Centum and Satem
30
The Sun in Indo-European
Classical Greek: helios
New Greek
illios
Latin
sol
Italian
sole
French
soleil
Spanish
sol
Rumanian
soare
Old Irish
grian
31
New Irish
grian
Welsh
haul
Breton
heol
Gothic
sauil, sunno
Old Norse
sol, sunna
Danish
sol
Swedish
sol
Middle English sonne
32
Modern English
sun
Dutch
zon
Old High German
sunna
Middle High German sunne
New High German sonne
Lithuanian
saulé
Lettic
saule
Serbo Croatian
sunce
33
Czech
Russian
Sanskrit
slunce
solnce
suar
34
Celtic
Keltoi (5th century BC), Proto-Celtic; Gauls;
Insular Celtic (British Isles), Continental Celtic,
*kw-  either q- or pP-Celtic: Brythonic; pedwar
Welsh, Cornish, Breton. Cumbric
Q-Celtic: Goidelic; ceathair
Irish, Manx, Scottish Gaelic
Welsh in Patagonia, Argentina
Gaelic in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Dramatic decline of Celtic languages: Cornish,
Manx have died out; Celtic revival
Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh still spoken by
bilingual speakers; about 20% claim knowledge
of Welsh
35
36
37
38
39
Germanic language zones
40
Germanic languages
41
Germanic
Proto-Germanic
East Germanic
Gothic: Ulfilas (4th CE); Crimean Gothic
North Germanic: Old Norse as common
language
Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Faroese, Icelandic
West Germanic
Low Germanic: Dutch, Flemish, Frisian, English
High Germanic: German (Low, High)
42
From Indo-European to
Germanic
Prosody: from free pitch accent to
strong fixed stress accent
The Consonant System: Sound Shifts
43
Grimm’s Law or The First
Consonant Shift
St o ps
Lab ia l
D enta l
V e la r
Lab io v ela r
P a lata l
[-vo ice ]
p
t
k
kw
kÕ
[+ v oi c e]
b
d
g
gw
gÕ
[+ v oi ce ]
[+ a s p ]
b
gh w
gÕ
h
h
d
h
g
h
44
Germanic Consonant
Phonemes from IE stops
f
q
h
p
t
k
b
d
g
45
Sound Laws: ‘Grimm’s Law’
Voiceless stops > voiceless fricatives
Voiced stops > voiceless stops
Voiced aspirated stops > voiced stops
Exceptions dependent on phonetic
environment
46
Verner’s Law (1875)
centum, hundred, patér, fæder, wearD,
worden, freas, froren, was, were
The new sound correspondences were in
force when (1) the stress was not on the
vowel immediately preceding, and (2) the
sound in question was bounded by
elements that had the feature [+ voice]
(either vowels or voiced consonants)
47
The Vowel System
I,e, a, o, u, E
ei, ai, oi, eu, au, ou
ablaut, vowel gradation: sing, sang,
sung
48
Morphology in IE and
Germanic
three numbers: sg, pl, dual
three genders: masc, fem, neutr
eight cases
strong and weak adjectives: after determiner,
no determiner: se goda man, god man
verb marked person, number, aspect, mood
(aspect reduced to two tenses in Germanic)
49
Morphology continued
three voices: active, passive, middle
Germanic had five moods: indicative,
subjunctive, optative, imperative,
injunctive
seven major morphological verb classes
dental preterite verbs (weak verbs) in
Germanic
50
Typological
classification
Syntactic universals: SOV, SVO, VSO, VOS,
OVS, OSV
Strawberries taste good; Strawberries, I like,
raspberries make me sick
Implicational universals
Morphological Typology: isolating,
agglutinating, fusional/inflectional,
(polysynthetic, inorporating)
Friedrich Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel,
Wilhelm von Humboldt
51
Language Contact and
Language Change
Why do languages change? The actuation
problem
Geography as a major factor
Language Contact: adstratum, superstratum,
substratum
The need to dispersal
Retention of features as a counter tendency
to language contact: spread of English as a
case in point
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