Comparative - Historical Linguistics
|COMPARATIVE – HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS||8|
|LINGUISTICS AND ARCHEOLOGY||10|
According to Longman dictionary language is 1) the system of human expression by means of words; 2) a particular system of words, as used by a people or nation.
Human language, that unique characteristic of our species, has been of interest throughout history. The scientific study of human language is called linguistics. A linguist, then, is not someone who speaks many languages (although many linguists do); such individuals are polyglots. A linguist is a scientist who investigates human language in all its facets, its structure, its use, its history, its place in society.
The form and structure of the kinds of linguistic knowledge speakers possess is the concern of theoretical linguistics. This theory of grammar - the mental representation of linguistic knowledge - is what this textbook is about. But the field of linguistics is not limited to grammatical theory; it includes a large number of subfields, which is true of most sciences concerned with phenomena as complex as human language.
The study of language began in ancient India and Greece. The Indians, in particular, dealt with linguistics in a very sophisticated way; much of their work has been adapted, however indirectly, by modern linguists.
In the Middle Ages, the speculative grammarians sought a theoretical basis for grammar, which was developed more extensively in the seventeenth century by Port Royal universal grammarians. During and after Renaissance, views of language became more diversified, largely because of increased contact among languages and cultures, especially after the invention of printing…