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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an overview of the major developments within historical linguistics during the nineteenth century. It addresses some of the general thoughts on the nature of language and language structure, but with a focus on phonological change, the genetic relationship between IE languages and the comparative method. While scholars of earlier periods had addressed these concepts to some degree, it is the linguists of this century who are credited with their discovery; certainly they gave coherence to these ideas and their major breakthroughs and achievements remain part of everyday linguistic knowledge today.

Keywords: historical phonology, comparative method, genetic classification, uniformitarianism, regularity

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