Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship
understand historical change in grammars: change in external language sometimes triggers a new on language variation, acquisition, and change converges, and these three areas .. ogists sought to understand the relationship between. Much has been said about the relationship between language and society. In the history of linguistics, it is rare to find investigations of any language But the pronunciation of the words of a language keeps changing over time. Spellings. dialectologists were trained as historical linguists they were frequently change can be observed in progress in present-day language varieties and 3) the Whereas traditional dialectology focussed on the relationship between language.
Another important strand in this approach to the philosophy of history is a clear theoretical preference for the historicist rather than the universalist position on the status of human nature—Herder rather than Vico. The prevalent perspective holds that human consciousness is itself a historical product, and that it is an important part of the historian's work to piece together the mentality and assumptions of actors in the past Pompa Significantly, contemporary historians such as Robert Darnton have turned to the tools of ethnography to permit this sort of discovery Another important strand of thinking within analytic philosophy has focused attention on historical ontology HackingLittle The topic of historical ontology is important, both for philosophers and for practicing historians.
Ontology has to do with the question, what kinds of things do we need to postulate in a given realm? Historical ontology poses this question with regard to the realities of the past. Or should we treat these ideas in a purely nominalistic way, treating them as convenient ways of aggregating complex patterns of social action and knowledge by large numbers of social actors in a time and place?
Are there social kinds that recur in history, or is each historical formation unique in important ways? These are all questions of ontology, and the answers we give to them will have important consequences for how we conceptualize and explain the past. We should begin by asking the basic question: In its most general sense, the term refers to the study of historians' methods and practices. So one task we always have in considering an expert activity is to attempt to identify these standards and criteria of good performance.
This is true for theatre and literature, and it is true for writing history. Historiography is at least in part the effort to do this work for a particular body of historical writing. Several handbooks contain a wealth of recent writings on various aspects of historiography; TuckerBentleyBreisach Historians normally make truth claims, and they ask us to accept those claims based on the reasoning they present. So a major aspect of the study of historiography has to do with defining the ideas of evidence, rigor, and standards of reasoning for historical inquiry.
We presume that historians want to discover empirically supported truths about the past, and we presume that they want to offer inferences and interpretations that are somehow regulated by standards of scientific rationality. Simon Schama challenges some of these ideas in Dead Certainties Schama The historiographer has a related task: There are other desiderata governing a good historical work, and these criteria may change from culture to culture and epoch to epoch.
Discerning the historian's goals is crucial to deciding how well he or she succeeds. So discovering these stylistic and aesthetic standards that guide the historian's work is itself an important task for historiography.
This means that the student of historiography will naturally be interested in the conventions of historical writing and rhetoric that are characteristic of a given period or school. What models of explanation? What paradigm of presentation? What standards of style and rhetoric? Historiography becomes itself historical when we recognize that these frameworks of assumptions about historical knowledge and reasoning change over time. On this assumption, the history of historical thinking and writing is itself an interesting subject.
How did historians of various periods in human history conduct their study and presentation of history? Under this rubric we find books on the historiography of the ancient Greeks; Renaissance historiography; or the historiography of German romanticism.
Arnaldo Momigliano's writings on the ancient historians fall in this category Momigliano In a nutshell, Momigliano is looking at the several traditions of ancient history-writing as a set of normative practices that can be dissected and understood in their specificity and their cultural contexts.How does language change?
A second primary use of the concept of historiography is more present-oriented and methodological. It involves the study and analysis of historical methods of research, inquiry, inference, and presentation used by more-or-less contemporary historians. How do contemporary historians go about their tasks of understanding the past? Here we can reflect upon the historiographical challenges that confronted Philip Huang as he investigated the Chinese peasant economy in the s and s Huangor the historiographical issues raised in Robert Darnton's telling of the Great Cat Massacre Darnton Sometimes these issues have to do with the scarcity or bias in the available bodies of historical records for example, the fact that much of what Huang refers to about the village economy of North China was gathered by the research teams of the occupying Japanese army.
Sometimes they have to do with the difficulty of interpreting historical sources for example, the unavoidable necessity Darnton faced of providing meaningful interpretation of a range of documented events that appear fundamentally irrational. This has led to a tendency to look at other countries' development as non-standard or stunted.
So global history is, in part, a framework within which the historian avoids privileging one regional center as primary and others as secondary or peripheral. Bin Wong makes this point very strongly in China Transformed Wong Second is the related fact that when Western historical thinkers—for example, Hegel, Malthus, Montesquieu—have turned their attention to Asia, they have often engaged in a high degree of stereotyping without much factual historical knowledge.
The ideas of Oriental despotism, Asian overpopulation, and Chinese stagnation have encouraged a cartoonish replacement of the intricate and diverse processes of development of different parts of Asia by a single-dimensional and reductive set of simplifying frameworks of thought. This is one of the points of Edward Said's critique of orientalism Said So a historiography that takes global diversity seriously should be expected to be more agnostic about patterns of development, and more open to discovery of surprising patterns, twists, and variations in the experiences of India, China, Indochina, the Arab world, the Ottoman Empire, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Variation and complexity are what we should expect, not stereotyped simplicity.
A global history needs to free itself from Eurocentrism. This step away from Eurocentrism in outlook should also be accompanied by a broadening of the geographical range of what is historically interesting. So a global history ought to be global and trans-national in its selection of topics—even while recognizing the fact that all historical research is selective.
A globally oriented historian will recognize that the political systems of classical India are as interesting and complex as the organization of the Roman Republic. An important current underlying much work in global history is the reality of colonialism through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the equally important reality of anti-colonial struggles and nation building in the s and s.
So there was a specific interest in gaining certain kinds of knowledge about those societies—in order to better govern them and exploit them. And post-colonial states had a symmetrical interest in supporting global historiography in their own universities and knowledge systems, in order to better understand and better critique the forming relations of the past.
A final way in which history needs to become global is to incorporate the perspectives and historical traditions of historians in non-western countries into the mainstream of discussion of major world developments.
Indian and Chinese historians have their own intellectual traditions in conducting historical research and explanation; a global history is one that pays attention to the insights and arguments of these traditions. So global historiography has to do with a broadened definition of the arena of historical change to include Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas; a recognition of the complexity and sophistication of institutions and systems in many parts of the world; a recognition of the trans-national interrelatedness that has existed among continents for at least four centuries; and a recognition of the complexity and distinctiveness of different national traditions of historiography Dominic Sachsenmaier provides a significant recent discussion of some of these issues Sachsenmaier He wants to take this idea seriously and try to discover some of the implications of different national traditions of academic historiography.
As should be clear from these remarks, there is a degree of overlap between historiography and the philosophy of history in the fact that both are concerned with identifying and evaluating the standards of reasoning that are used in various historical traditions. That said, historiography is generally more descriptive and less evaluative than the philosophy of history.
Language change - Wikipedia
And it is more concerned with the specifics of research and writing than is the philosophy of history. Topics from the historians There is another current of thinking about the philosophy of history that deserves more attention from philosophers than it has so far received. It is the work of philosophically minded historians and historical social scientists treating familiar but badly understood historical concepts: These writings represent a middle-level approach to issues having to do with the logic of historical discourse.
This aspect of current philosophy of history brings the discipline into close relation to the philosophy of the special sciences biology, sociology, archaeology. Philosophically reflective historians ask critical questions about the concepts and assumptions that are often brought into historical thinking, and they attempt to provide more adequate explication of these concepts given their own encounters with the challenges of historical research and historical explanation.
Charles Tilly challenges a common assumption that causal reasoning depends on identifying background causal regularities; he argues instead for an approach to causal reasoning that emphasizes the role of concrete causal mechanisms McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly Simon Schama questions the concept of an objective historical narrative that serves to capture the true state of affairs about even fairly simple historical occurrences Charles Sabel casts doubt on the idea of fixed patterns of historical development, arguing that there were alternative pathways available even within the classic case of economic development in western Europe Sabel and Zeitlin As these examples illustrate, there is ample room for productive exchange between philosophers with an interest in the nature of history and the historians and social scientists who have reflected deeply on the complexities of the concepts and assumptions we use in historical analysis.
Rethinking the philosophy of history It may be useful to close with a sketch of a possible framework for an updated philosophy of history. Any area of philosophy is driven by a few central puzzles. In the area of the philosophy of history, the most fundamental questions remain unresolved: Can we provide a conception of historical and social entities that avoids the error of reification but gives some credible reality to the entities that are postulated?
Historical causation is not analogous to natural necessity in the domain of physical causation, because there are no fixed laws that govern historical events. So we need to provide an account of the nature of the causal powers that historical factors are postulated to have. Is it possible to arrive at justified interpretations of long-dead actors, their mentalities and their actions?
- Philosophy of History
- Language History, Language Change, and Language Relationship
How does this phenomenological reality play into the account of historical causation? Or does all historical knowledge remain permanently questionable? A new philosophy of history will shed light on these fundamental issues. It will engage with the hermeneutic and narrativist currents that have been important in the continental tradition and have arisen in recent years in Anglo-American philosophy.
It will incorporate the rigorous epistemic emphasis that is associated with analytic philosophy of history, but will separate itself from the restrictive assumptions of positivism. A new philosophy of history will grapple with issues of social explanation that have been so important for the current generation of social-science historians and will incorporate the best current understandings of the philosophy of social science about social ontology and explanation.
A handful of ontological assumptions can be offered. History consists of human actions within humanly embodied institutions and structures.
There is no super-human agency in history. There is no super-human meaning or progress in history; there is only a series of events and processes driven by concrete causal processes and individual actions. Following Davidson and Taylorthere is no inconsistency between reasons and causes, understanding and explanation. Historical explanation depends on both causal-structural reasoning and interpretation of actions and intentions; so it is both causal and hermeneutic.
There are no causal laws or universal generalizations within human affairs. However, there is such a thing as social causation, proceeding through the workings of human agency and the constraints of institutions and structures. A legitimate historiographical goal is to identify causal mechanisms within historical processes, and these mechanisms invariably depend on the actions of historical actors situated within concrete social relations. Likewise, a basic epistemology of historical knowledge can be described.
Historical knowledge depends on ordinary procedures of empirical investigation, and the justification of historical claims depends on providing convincing demonstration of the empirical evidence that exists to support or invalidate the claim.
There is such a thing as historical objectivity, in the sense that historians are capable of engaging in good-faith interrogation of the evidence in constructing their theories of the past.
But this should not be understood to imply that there is one uniquely true interpretation of historical processes and events. Rather, there is a perfectly ordinary sense in which historical interpretations are underdetermined by the facts, and there are multiple legitimate historical questions to pose about the same body of evidence. Historical narratives have a substantial interpretive component, and involve substantial construction of the past.
Finally, a new philosophy of history will be sensitive to the variety of forms of presentation of historical knowledge. The discipline of history consists of many threads, including causal explanation, material description, and narrative interpretation of human action. Historical narrative itself has several aspects: But even more importantly, not all historical knowledge is expressed in narratives. Rather, there is a range of cognitive structures through which historical knowledge is expressed, from detailed measurement of historical standards of living, to causal arguments about population change, to comparative historical accounts of similar processes in different historical settings.
A new philosophy of history will take the measure of synchronous historical writing; historical writing that conveys a changing set of economic or structural circumstances; writing that observes the changing characteristics of a set of institutions; writing that records and analyzes a changing set of beliefs and attitudes in a population; and many other varieties as well.
These are important features of the structure of historical knowledge, not simply aspects of the rhetoric of historical writing. Abbott, Andrew Delano, Chicago sociology at one hundred, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Language and historical experience, Bielefeld: A new philosophy of history, Chicago: Hegel's theory of the modern state Cambridge studies in the history and theory of politicsLondon: Companion to historiography, London; New York: Beyond the great story: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Three critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, H. History and Theory 55 2: Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, 8 volumes, Stuttgart: The idea of history, Oxford, Clarendon Press. Condorcet, Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Sketch for a historical picture of the progress of the human mind, Westport, CT: Chicago and the Great West, New York: Danto, Arthur Coleman, Analytical philosophy of history, Cambridge: The great cat massacre and other episodes in French cultural history, New York: Journal of Philosophy, 60 Progress and religion, an historical enquiry, New York: De Vries, Bert, and Johan Goudsblom, Guns, germs, and steel: Introduction to the human sciences, R.
Princeton University Press, Hermeneutics and the study of history, R. The formation of the historical world in the human sciences, R. Laws and explanation in history, London: Philosophy of history, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Philosophical analysis and history Sources in contemporary philosophyNew York: The order of things: The nature of historical explanation, London: The philosophy of history Oxford readings in philosophyLondon, New York: The Social Construction of What?
Historical ontology, Cambridge, MA, London: Causation in the law, Oxford: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, a. Reason in history, a general introduction to the philosophy of history, New York: Liberal Arts Press, The philosophy of history, New York: Spoken language makes use of a very wide range of the articulations and resultant sounds that are available within the human vocal and auditory resources.
Far fewer general classes of sounds are distinctive carry meaning differences in any language than the number of sounds that are actually phonetically different. The English t sounds at the beginning and end of tot and in the two places in stouter are all different, though these differences are not readily noticed by English speakers, and, rightly, the same letter is used for them all.
Similar statements could be made about most or all of the other consonant and vowel sounds in English. What is distinctive in one language may not be distinctive in another or may be used in a different way; this is an additional difficulty to be overcome in learning a foreign language.
In Chinese and in several other languages loosely called tone languages, the pitchor tone, on which a syllable is said helps to distinguish one word from another: Languages differ in the ways in which consonant and vowel sounds can be grouped into syllables in words. English and German tolerate several consonants before and after a single vowel: Italian does not have such complex syllables, and in Japanese and Swahili, for example, the ratio of consonant and vowel sounds in syllables and in words is much more even.
Grammar Another component of language structure is grammar. There is more to language than sounds, and words are not to be regarded as merely sequences of syllables. The concept of the word is a grammatical concept; in speech, words are not separated by pauses, but they are recognized as recurrent units that make up sentences. Very generally, grammar is concerned with the relations between words in sentences. Classes of words, or parts of speech, as they are often called, are distinguished because they occupy different places in sentence structure, and in most languages some of them appear in different forms according to their function English man, men; walk, walked; I, me; and so on.
Languages differ in the extent to which word-form variation is used in their grammar; Classical Chinese had almost none, English does not have much, and Latin and Greek had quite a lot. Conversely, English makes much more use of word order in grammar than did Latin or Greek. Traditionally, grammar has been divided into syntax and morphologysyntax dealing with the relations between words in sentence structure and morphology with the internal grammatical structure of words.
The relation between girl and girls and the relationship irregular between woman and women would be part of morphology; the relation of concord between the girl [or woman] is here and the girls [or women] are here would be part of syntax. It must, however, be emphasized that the distinction between the two is not as clear-cut as this brief illustration might suggest. This is a matter for debate between linguists of different persuasions; some would deny the relevance of distinguishing morphology from syntax at all, referring to grammatical structure as a whole under the term syntax.
Grammar is different from phonology and vocabulary see below Semanticsthough the word grammar is often used comprehensively to cover all aspects of language structure. Categories such as plural, past tenseand genitive case are not phonological categories. In spoken language they are, like everything else, expressed in speech sounds, but within a language these may be very different for one and the same category.
In English noun plurals, the added -s in cats, the vowel changes in man, men and in goose, geese, and the -en in oxen are quite different phonologically; so are the past-tense formatives such as -ed in guarded, -t in burnt, vowel change in take, took, and vowel and consonant change in bring, brought. The phonological difference does not matter, provided only that the category distinction is somehow expressed.
The same is true of the orthographic representation of grammatical differences, and the examples just given illustrate both cases. This is why the grammar of written language can be dealt with separately. In the case of dead languages, known with certainty only in their written forms, this must necessarily be done; insofar as the somewhat different grammar of their spoken forms made use of sound features not represented in writing e. Grammatical forms and grammatical structures are part of the communicative apparatus of languages, and along with vocabularyor lexicon the stock of individual words in a languagethey serve to express all the meanings required.
Spoken language has, in addition, resources such as emphatic stressing and intonation. This is not to say, however, that grammatical categories can be everywhere directly related to specific meanings. Plural and past tense are fairly clear as regards meaning in English, but even here there are difficulties; in if I knew his address, I would tell you, the past-tense form knew refers not to the past but to an unfulfilled condition in the present.
In some other languages greater problems arise. The gender distinctions of French, German, and Latin are very much part of the grammar of these languages, but only in a small number of words do masculine, feminine, and neuter genders correspond with differences of sex, or with any other category of meaning in relation to the external world.
Semantics Language exists to be meaningful; the study of meaning, both in general theoretical terms and in reference to a specific language, is known as semantics.
Semantics embraces the meaningful functions of phonological features, such as intonation, and of grammatical structures and the meanings of individual words. It is this last domain, the lexicon, that forms much of the subject matter of semantics. The word stock of a language is very large; The Oxford English Dictionaryfor example, consists of somewords. When the lexicons of specialized, dialectal, and global varieties of English are taken into account, this total must easily exceed one million.
The lexicons of less widely used languages can be just as large. Once again, it must be stressed that questions arising from the relations between semantics, grammar, and phonology are the subjects of continuing controversy. Page 1 of 5. Speakers will change and create languages, such as pidgins and creoles. According to one view, children regularly learn the adult forms imperfectly, and the changed forms then turn into a new standard.
Alternatively, imperfect learning occurs regularly in one part of society, such as an immigrant group, where the minority language forms a substratumand the changed forms can ultimately influence majority usage.
Language may not only change towards a prestigious accent, but also away from one with negative prestige,  as in the case of rhoticity of Received Pronunciation. At first sight, there seem to be all the reasons in the world why society should never let the changes through.
For example, when we hear the word "wicked", we automatically interpret it as either "evil" or "wonderful", depending on whether it is uttered by an elderly lady or a teenager.
Deutscher speculates that "[i]n a hundred years' time, when the original meaning of 'wicked' has all but been forgotten, people may wonder how it was ever possible for a word meaning 'evil' to change its sense to 'wonderful' so quickly. Marcel Cohen details various types of language change under the overall headings of the external evolution  and internal evolution of languages. The ongoing influx of new words into the English language for example helps make it a rich field for investigation into language change, despite the difficulty of defining precisely and accurately the vocabulary available to speakers of English.