From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Comparative linguistics (originally comparative philology) is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages in order to establish their historical relatedness. Languages may be related by convergence through borrowing or by genetic descent.
Genetic relatedness implies a common origin or proto-language, and comparative linguistics aims to construct language families, to reconstruct proto-languages and specify the changes that have resulted in the documented languages. In order to maintain a clear distinction between attested and reconstructed forms, comparative linguists prefix an asterisk to any form that is not found in surviving texts.
- Comparative method
- Contrastive analysis
- Contrastive linguistics
- Historical linguistics
- Intercontinental Dictionary Series
- Pseudoscientific language comparison
- Mass comparison
- Sound law