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1.1.Historical linguistics was launched in the nineteenth century by comparing and correlating sound changes in Indo-European languages as a way of identifying which languages belong to that family.Very quickly interest expanded to the cataloguing of lexical, morphological, syntactic and semantic change in Indo-European and other language families.All languages and all varieties of every language constitute potential data for linguistic research, as do the relationships between them and the relations and structures of their components.A linguist is someone who studies and describes the structure and composition of language and/or languages in a methodical and rigorous manner.Comparative studies of language contact and genetic relationship have led to well accepted descriptions of relations among different languages and their grouping into families.Linguistics is the study of the human ability to produce and interpret language in speaking, writing and signing (for the deaf).What is Linguistics?1.1.1.


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1.1.


What is Linguistics?


Linguistics is the study of the human ability to produce and interpret language in speaking, writing and signing (for the deaf). All languages and all varieties of every language constitute potential data for linguistic research, as do the relationships between them and the relations and structures of their components. A linguist is someone who studies and describes the structure and composition of language and/or languages in a methodical and rigorous manner. Historical linguistics was launched in the nineteenth century by comparing and correlating sound changes in Indo-European languages as a way of identifying which languages belong to that family. Very quickly interest expanded to the cataloguing of lexical, morphological, syntactic and semantic change in Indo-European and other language families. Comparative studies of language contact and genetic relationship have led to well accepted descriptions of relations among different languages and their grouping into families.


1.1.1. Language Families


The term "linguistique" was admitted to the dictionary of the French Academy in 1835 and there defined as the study of the principles and relationships of languages. But the new discipline was also known as 'comparative grammar', a term proposed by Schlegel in 1808; and that is the designation which perhaps described better than any other the new orientation of linguistic scholarship. Prompted by the rediscovery of Sanskrit, European linguists embarked on the comparative analysis of the whole family of Indo-European languages.


Indo-European languages are a vast language family. People have long been aware that certain


languages are strikingly similar to certain other languages. In the late eighteenth century, a few


linguists began to realize that certain ancient languages of Europe and Asia, notably Latin, Greek and


Sanskrit (in India), were so remarkably similar in their grammars that they must share a common


origin. This observation, famously made by Sir William Jones in 1786, marks the official beginning


of the recognition of the Indo-European (IE) family. It was quickly realized that Gothic (and the other


Germanic languages), Old Persian (and the other Iranian languages) and the Celtic languages also


shared the same common origin, as well as the Baltic and Slavic languages, and Albanian and


Armenian. Over a century later, texts written in several long-extinct languages were unearthed in


Anatolia and central Asia; when deciphered, these too proved to be written in ancient Indo-European


languages: Hittite (and several other Anatolian languages) in the first case and the Tocharian languages in the second. A very few other ancient Indo-European languages have turned up in inscriptions but are so poorly documented we know little about them. By applying comparative reconstruction (which was largely developed and refined by its application here), linguists were eventually successful in carrying out a substantial reconstruction of the single language which was the remote ancestor of all these languages. This ancestor is called Proto-Indo-European, or PIE. The speakers of PIE were illiterate and left no records, but we nevertheless know a great deal about the phonology, grammar and vocabulary of PIE. For example, we are confident that a PIE root of the approximate form *kwel- 'revolve, turn' (the


asterisk indicates a reconstructed form) is the source of Latin collum 'neck', Greek polos 'pole


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