Upload Опубликованный материал нарушает ваши авторские права? Сообщите нам.
Вуз: Предмет: Файл:
история языка.doc
79.87 Кб

Завдання до Семінарського заняття 1 The Subject of the History of the English Language. Analysis of Development of Languages. The Comparative Historical Method

1. Theoretical questions (for the test and discussion)

1) The Subject matter of The History of the English Languages.

2) The Comparative Historic Method: its principles, stages of operation and weak points.

3) W. Jones and the idea of the Proto-Language.

4) Germanic philologists contributing to development of Comparative Linguistics: A. Schleicher, F.Shmidt, Franz Bopp, J. Grimm, K. Verner

2. Reports:

    1. Causes of language evolution

    2. A. Schleicher (the theory of language tree), F.Shmidt (the theory of waves) and their idea of language relations.

    3. Franz Bopp, Rasmus Rask and their contribution to comparative philology.

    4. Jacob Grimm, Karl Verner and their contribution to sound laws.

3. Practical task - to be done in written form and submitted at the end of the lesson:

Sample of the work (


Sound correspondence between English, German and Latin

1. Sounds t-z-d




2. Sounds # - # - #




A4 Format)

South Ukrainian State Pedagogical University

control work 1




Odesa - 2007

Establish some regular sound correspondence between English, German and Latin, supporting it with a number of words, e.g.

t [t] -- z [ts] -- d [d]

English German Latin

two zwei duo

ten zehn decem

tip Zipfel digitus

1. The subject matter of the History of the English language.

History of the English language is one of the fundamental courses forming the linguistic background of a specialist in philology. In studying the English language of today we are faced with a number of peculiarities which appear unintelligible from the modern point of view. These are found both in vocabulary and in the phonetic and grammatical structure of the language.

We cannot account for them from the point of view of contemporary English; we can only suppose that they are not a matter of chance and there must be some cause behind them. These causes belong to a more or less remote past and they can only be discovered by going into the history of the English language.

With adequate tools of investigation we still can trace all the changes within the language as a system. So the aim of the course is the investigation of the development of the English Language.

The subject matter of our course is the changing nature of the language through more than 15 hundred years of its existence. It studies the rise and development of English, its structure and peculiarities in the old days, its similarity to other languages of the same family and its unique specific features.

It starts with a view at the beginnings of the language, originally the dialects of a comparatively small number of related tribes that migrated from the continent onto the British Isles, the dialects of the Indo-European family – synthetic inflected language with a well-developed system of noun forms, a rather poorly represented system of verbal categories, with free word order and a vocabulary that consisted almost entirely of words of native origin. In phonology there was a strict subdivision of vowels into long and short, comparatively few diphthongs and an undeveloped system of consonants.

Mighty factors influenced the language converting it into the mainly analytical language of today, with scarcity of nominal forms and a verbal system that much outweighs the systems of many other European languages. Its vowel system is rich, its vocabulary is enormous. Its spelling system is rather confusing.

2.Proto-Germanic (often abbreviated PGmc.), Common Germanic or Ur-Germanic, as it is sometimes known, is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Germanic languages, including English.[1] By definition, Proto-Germanic is the stage of the language constituting the most recent common ancestor of the attested Germanic languages. Proto-Germanic is itself descended from Proto-Indo-European (PIE).Although Proto-Germanic was reconstructed as a node in the tree model of language development, its main innovations must have followed a logical and therefore a chronological sequence, leading to the hypothesis that, over its estimated life of nearly one thousand years, roughly 500 BC to 500, it underwent phases of development. Each phase but the last featured some, but not all, of the common innovations. Moreover, the final phases, and perhaps the initial, were already divided into dialects, some of which would lead to distinct languages, which began at the point of mutual unintelligibility. That point is often difficult to determine, and as such there may have never been any uniform Proto-Germanic.[citation needed]The Proto-Germanic language is not directly attested by any surviving texts but has been reconstructed using the comparative method. However, a few surviving inscriptions in a runic script from Scandinavia dated to c. 200, may represent a stage of Proto-Norse or, according to Bernard Comrie, late Common Germanic immediately following the "Proto-Germanic" stage.

Theories of phylogeny Solutions to the phylogeny problemPhylogeny applied to historical linguistics is the evolutionary descent of languages. The phylogeny problem is the question of what specific tree, in the tree model of language evolution, best explains the paths of descent of all the members of a language family from a Common, or Proto language at the root of the tree to the attested languages at the leaves of the tree. The Germanic languages form a tree with Proto-Germanic at its root. This tree is a branch of the Indo-European tree with Proto-Indo-European at its root. Due to borrowing of lexical items from contact languages, the position of the Germanic branch within Indo-European is more ambiguous than the positions of the other branches of Indo-European. Over the life of historical linguistics, various solutions have been proposed, none certain, and all debatable.To the evolutionary history of a language family, a genetic "tree model" is considered appropriate only if communities do not remain in effective contact as their languages diverge. Early IE was computed to have featured limited contact between distinct lineages, while only the Germanic subfamily exhibited a less treelike behaviour as it acquired some characteristics from neighbours early in its evolution rather than from its direct ancestors. The internal diversification of especially West Germanic is cited to have been radically non-treelike.[3]Proto-Germanic is generally agreed to have begun about 500 BC.[4] The hypothetical development between the end of Proto-Indo-European and 500 BC is termed Pre-Proto-Germanic. Whether it is to be included under a wider meaning of Proto-Germanic is a matter of usage.W. P. Lehmann considered that Jacob Grimm's "First Germanic Sound Shift", or Grimm's Law and Verner's Law,[5] which pertained mainly to consonants and were considered for a good many decades to have generated Proto-Germanic, were pre-Proto-Germanic, and that the "upper boundary" was the fixing of the accent, or stress, on the root syllable of a word, typically the first.[6] Proto-Indo-European had featured a moveable pitch accent comprising "an alternation of high and low tones"[7] as well as stress of position determined by a set of rules based on the lengths of the word's syllables.The fixation of the stress led to sound changes in unstressed syllables. For Lehmann, the "lower boundary" was the dropping of final -a or -e in unstressed syllables; for example, post-PIE *woyd-á > Gothic wait, "knows" (the > and < signs in linguistics indicate a genetic descent). Antonsen agreed with Lehmann about the upper boundary[8] but later found runic evidence that the -a was not dropped: ékwakraz … wraita, "I wakraz … wrote (this)." He says: "We must therefore search for a new lower boundary for Proto-Germanic."[9]His own scheme divides Proto-Germanic into an early and a late. The early includes the stress fixation and resulting "spontaneous vowel-shifts" while to define the late he lists ten complex rules governing changes of both vowels and consonants.[10]By 250 BC, Proto-Germanic had branched into five groups of Germanic (two each in the West and the North, and one in the East)