From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Historical linguistics (also called diachronic linguistics) is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:
- to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages;
- to reconstruct the pre-history of languages and determine their relatedness, grouping them into language families (comparative linguistics);
- to develop general theories about how and why language changes;
- to describe the history of speech communities;
- to study the history of words, i.e. etymology.
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