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Магистратура 2019/2020

Диахронические процессы в языке

Лучший по критерию «Полезность курса для Вашей будущей карьеры»
Лучший по критерию «Полезность курса для расширения кругозора и разностороннего развития»
Лучший по критерию «Новизна полученных знаний»
Статус: Курс обязательный (Лингвистическая теория и описание языка)
Направление: 45.04.03. Фундаментальная и прикладная лингвистика
Когда читается: 1-й курс, 3 модуль
Формат изучения: без онлайн-курса
Прогр. обучения: Лингвистическая теория и описание языка
Язык: английский
Кредиты: 3

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course gives a brief practical overview of the classical comparative method and explains how it is complemented today by advances in computational phylogenetic studies. It includes both theoretical lectures and elements of practical analysis of linguistic data, with a significant focus on the most cutting-edge and occasionally controversial aspects of the discipline, such as the dating of linguistic divergence and long-range linguistic relationship. Theoretical problems are illustrated using material taken from both familiar language families, such as Indo-European, and those that will be less familiar to students, e.g. language families of Southeast Asia and Africa.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main objective of the course is to show the modern trends and achievements in the domain of diachronic (historical) linguistics as compared to the classical comparative method that has dominated the field for the past 150 years.
  • The course intends to familiarize students with the rules and conditions for the application of the comparative historical method, the basic laws and trends of language change identified with its help, so that they could be able to conduct a sober, scientific historical assessment of observed language facts.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The student should be familiarized with the fundamental principles of comparative-historical linguistics and understand the formal scientific basis for distinguishing historically conditioned similarities between languages from accidental resemblances.
  • The student should be able to distinguish similarities in language that result from convergence (language contact) from similarities that are due to common descent, and be able to apply the respective methodology in any possible situation.
  • The student should be able to understand the basic principles of phonetic, phonological, grammatical, and lexical reconstruction, apply them in one's own research and critically evaluate existing reconstructions and etymologies based on respective principles.
  • The student should be familiarized with the basic principles of phylogenetic classification and understand most of the substantial and technical problems involved in the creation of such classifications.
  • The student should understand the substantial differences between language comparison on relatively shallow and significantly deeper time scales, and learn to critically evaluate various "controversial" hypotheses of distant relationship based on the quantity and quality of presented evidence.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Fundamental principles of comparative-historical linguistics.
    The basic components of the term "comparative-historical linguistics". Linguistics as originally a historical science. Introduction of the distinction between synchrony and diachrony (F. de Saussure, etc.). Historical linguistics as a science of language change. Classification of language changes by level: phonetic, grammatical, lexico-semantic changes. The obligatory nature of language change. Reasons for language change: (a) social, (b) system-balancing ("economy of effort"). Unpredictability and typological peculiarities of specific language changes. Similarities and differences between linguistic and biological (evolutionary) changes. The role of the comparative aspect in historical linguistics. The difference between comparative historical linguistics and typological. Language development as a predominantly divergent process with the possibility of individual elements of convergence. The concepts of language family and parent language. The problem of the ratio of divergence and convergence, the possibility of "mixed" languages.
  • Language relationship and language contact: the interaction of divergent and convergent processes in language history.
    Ontological and diagnostic definitions of language relationship. Random sound-meaning similarities between morphemes, their inevitability in any languages ​​of the world. The problem of distinguishing random similarities from system ones. Regular phonetic correspondences as a prerequisite for linguistic relationship. Possibility of establishing phonetic correspondences between the donor language and the acceptor language with close language contacts. The concepts of basic and cultural vocabulary, reliance on basic vocabulary in establishing phonetic correspondences. Systemic grammatical similarities within paradigms as evidence of linguistic relationship.
  • Methodology of historical reconstruction on various linguistic levels (phonology, grammar, lexicon).
    Abstractions and reality in protolanguage reconstruction. What exactly are the comparativists reconstructing? Phonological reconstruction and the possibility of its phonetic interpretation. Distributive analysis of correspondence series as the basis of phonological reconstruction. Typological "verification" of phonological reconstruction. Typology of sound change: consonantism, vocalism, suprasegmental means. Semantic reconstruction: the absence of “universal semantic laws” as a serious obstacle to the reconstruction of the meaning of the morpheme. Typology of semantic change. Main types of changes: metonymic and metaphorical transfers. Grammatical reconstruction: the main problems associated with the reconstruction of inflectional and derivational morphemes - instability, tendency of radical restructuring of the system, possibility of irregular correspondences in grammatical morphemes. Possibilities of grammatical reconstruction in languages ​​of isolating, agglutinative, inflective types.
  • Formal methods of phylogenetic classification and linguistic dating: the past and the present.
    Statistical procedures as a control method of substantiation of linguistic relationship. Limited application of statistical methods; theoretical and technical problems affecting the reliability of the results. M. Swadesh and the lexicostatistical method. The postulate of constant rate of change in basic vocabulary, its theoretical and empirical justification. Glottochronology: calculation of the absolute date of language decay by analogy with the radiocarbon method. Criticism of glottochronology in works by Bergsland & Vogt and other researchers. Improvement of the glottochronological method in the works of S. A. Starostin. Modern phylogenetic methods (Bayesian, etc.) and their comparison with the results of classic lexicostatistics and glottochronology.
  • The issue of time limit for the comparative method and the current state of macro-comparative studies.
    Main problems of establishing language relationship on deep chronological levels. Quantitative reduction of evidence; increase in complexity of phonetic correspondences; substrate and adstrate influence. The "chronological threshold" for establishing language relationship by conventional means and the question of how and whether it may be overcome. Two main approaches in macro-comparative linguistics: Greenberg's "mass comparison" and iterative, step-by-step application of the comparative method (Nostratic hypothesis, Moscow school of linguistics, etc.). The current state of macro-comparative studies in Russian and worldwide comparative linguistics: main hypotheses and perspectives.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Homework
  • non-blocking Homework
  • non-blocking Brief essay
  • non-blocking Homework
  • non-blocking Brief essay
  • non-blocking Written examination
    Экзамен проводится в письменной форме. Экзамен проводится на платформе Zoom. К экзамену необходимо подключиться за 5 минут до начала. Для участия в экзамене студент обязан включить камеру и микрофон. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено пользоваться справочной литературой. Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается период до 2-3 минут. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается временной период, превышающий 3 минуты. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи аналогична процедуре сдачи.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.25 * Brief essay + 0.25 * Brief essay + 0.5 * Written examination
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Даниленко В.П. - Введение в языкознание : курс лекций - Издательство "ФЛИНТА" - 2016 - 288с. - ISBN: 978-5-9765-0833-0 - Текст электронный // ЭБС ЛАНЬ - URL: https://e.lanbook.com/book/84289

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Даниленко В.П. - История русского языкознания: курс лекций - Издательство "ФЛИНТА" - 2018 - 320с. - ISBN: 978-5-9765-0707-4 - Текст электронный // ЭБС ЛАНЬ - URL: https://e.lanbook.com/book/109539