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Principles of historical hypothesis

The rise of comparative historical linguistics in the first half of the 19* century was prepared by the philological activities of William Jones ( 1746-1794). Jones discovered affinity for Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Persian and some other languages. He drew a conclusion that they originated from the same parent language which might no longer exist.

August Wilhelm von Schlegel (1767-1845) divided languages into three types: I) isolating (those without inflectional morphology and with word order assuming grammatical significance, like Chinese); 2) agglutinating (those which use affixes, like Turkish); 3) inflecting (those which present accidence, like Sanskrit).

Franz Bopp (1791-1867) invented the term • Indo-European. He got fame as the founder of the science of comparative philology.

Jacob Grimm’s (1785-1863) Grammar is generally considered the foundation of Germanic philology. In 1848 he postulated close relationships of Germanic languages with the Baltic and Slavic ones.

Rasmus Rask's (1787-1832) survey of the relationship with Thracian contains a well-known statement concerning the First Consonant Shift in Germanic languages. For the Germanic branch Rask used the term Gothic, which he divided into Scandinavian and Germanic.

Rask's most famous work is "or An Investigation concerning the source of the Old Northern Icelandic Language”.

Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) believed that the basic form of all languages must be the same. Humboldt considers Sanskrit the optimal language-type because of its developed inflectional forms.

The Indo-European family of languages consists of a number of brandies, including Romance, Gennanic, Celtic, Baltic, Slavic, Indo-lranian, Armenian, Greek, Albanian, Hiltite and Tocharian languages.

It has been clarified that the ancient Germans belonged to the western division of the Indo-European speech community. As the Indo-Europeans extended in their migrations over a larger territory, the Germans moved further north than other tribes and settled on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea in the region of the Elbe.

Neogrammarian linguistics

The neogrammarian group was founded in the seventies of the 19th century in Leipzig.

Leskien's contribution was his concept of sound change without exception.

Wilhelm Scherer's contribution was "A History of German", in which he rejected the notion that the languages of today represent a decline from those of the past.

The neogrammarian principles were elaborated by Karl Bntgmann (1849-1919).

Eduard Sievers (1850-1932) had identified the Old English Genesis as a translation from Old Saxon. He proposed a solution to the difference between the endings of Gothic harjis and haitdeis, which was the initial step towards recognizing allophonic variation in language.

Neogrammarian principles are:

1) language is not a thing which leads a life of its own outside of and above human beings, its true existence is only in the individual, hence all changes in the life of a language proceed from the individual speaker;

2) the mental and physical activity of man must have been at all times the same when he acquired a language inherited from his forefathers, reproduced and modified the speech forms which had been absorbed into his consciousness.

Based on this twofold concept, the two most important neogrammarian rules

1. Every sound change takes place according to laws that admit no exception.

2. New linguistic forms are created by analogy in any period of language development.

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