A word may enter a language as a loanword as a word from one language adopted by speakers of another language , through derivational morphology by combining pre-existing elements in the language, by a hybrid of these two processes called phono-semantic matching , or in several other minor ways. In languages with a long and detailed history, etymology makes use of philology , the study of how words change from culture to culture over time. Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information such as writing to be known.
By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method , linguists can make inferences, about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In that way, word roots that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family have been found.
Although originating in the philological tradition, much current etymological research is done in language families for which little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian. Dialectology is the scientific study of linguistic dialect , the varieties of a language that are characteristic of particular groups, based primarily on geographic distribution and their associated features.
This is in contrast to variations based on social factors, which are studied in sociolinguistics , or variations based on time, which are studied in historical linguistics. Dialectology treats such topics as divergence of two local dialects from a common ancestor and synchronic variation.
Dialectologists are concerned with grammatical features that correspond to regional areas. Thus, they are usually dealing with populations living in specific locales for generations without moving, but also with immigrant groups bringing their languages to new settlements.
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Phonology is a sub-field of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language or set of languages. Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages. An important part of phonology is studying which sounds are distinctive units within a language. For example, the "p" in "pin" is aspirated , but the "p" in "spin" is not.
In English these two sounds are used in complementary distribution and are not used to differentiate words so they are considered allophones of the same phoneme. In some other languages like Thai and Quechua , the same difference of aspiration or non-aspiration differentiates words and so the two sounds or phones are therefore considered two distinct phonemes.
The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of sign languages , but the phonological units do not consist of sounds. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of modality because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones. Morphology is the study of the formal means of expression in a language; in the context of historical linguistics, how the formal means of expression change over time; for instance, languages with complex inflectional systems tend to be subject to a simplification process.
This field studies the internal structure of words as a formal means of expression. Words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology. While words are generally accepted as being with clitics the smallest units of syntax , it is clear that, in most if not all languages, words can be related to other words by rules. The rules understood by the speaker reflect specific patterns or regularities in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word-formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages, in the context of historical linguistics, how the means of expression change over time.
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Syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. The term syntax is used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language, as in "the syntax of Modern Irish ".
Modern researchers in syntax attempt to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to find general rules that apply to all natural languages in the context of historical linguistics, how characteristics of sentence structure in related languages changed over time.
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Studies in historical linguistics often use the terms " conservative " or "innovative" to characterize the extent of change occurring in a particular language or dialect as compared with related varieties. In particular, a conservative variety changes relatively less than an innovative variety. The variations in plasticity are often related to the socio-economic situation of the language speakers. An example of an innovative dialect would be American English because of the vast number of speakers and the open interaction its speakers have with other language groups; the changes can be seen in the terms developed for business and marketing, among other fields such as technology.
The converse of an innovative language is a conservative language, which is generally defined by its static nature and imperviousness to outside influences. Most but not all conservative languages are spoken in secluded areas that lack any other primary language speaking population.
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Neither descriptive terms carries any value judgment in linguistic studies or determines any form of worthiness a language has, compared to any other language. A particularly-conservative variety that preserves features that have long since vanished elsewhere is sometimes said to be " archaic ". There are few examples of archaic language in modern society, but some have survived in set phrases or in nursery rhymes.
In terms of evolutionary theory, historical linguistics as opposed to research into the origins of human language studies Lamarckian acquired characteristics of languages. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. July Learn how and when to remove this template message.
Outline History Index. Grammatical theories.
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Outline History. Archaeological Biological Cultural Linguistic Social. Social Cultural. Research framework. Key concepts. Key theories. Actor—network theory Alliance theory Cross-cultural studies Cultural materialism Culture theory Diffusionism Feminism Historical particularism Boasian anthropology Functionalism Interpretive Performance studies Political economy Practice theory Structuralism Post-structuralism Systems theory. Anthropologists by nationality Anthropology by year Bibliography Journals List of indigenous peoples Organizations. See also: Synchrony and diachrony.
Main article: Dialectology. Main article: Sound change. Main article: Conservative language. Comparative method Comparative word lists: wikt:Wiktionary:Basic English Word List wikt:Wiktionary:Swadesh list Etymological dictionary Genetic linguistics Germanic philology Glottochronology Grammaticalisation Historical dictionary Indo-European studies Language families and languages Lexicostatistics List of languages by first written accounts Mass lexical comparison Paleolinguistics Proto-language Real-time sociolinguistics Proto-Indo-European language Wave model.
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Toggle navigation. College of Japanese Language and Culture. The link available only in Japanese This is a four-year course for international full-time students at the University of Tsukuba. Educational Policy The College of Japanese Language and Culture fosters the ability to grasp linguistic and cultural phenomena in Japan comprehensively and understand them from a global perspective.