General linguistics and Indo-European reconstruction

  • There is good reason to be ambivalent about the usefulness of general considerations in linguistic reconstruction. As a heuristic device, a theoretical framework can certainly be helpful, but the negative potential of aprioristic considerations must not be underestimated. E.g., there is a whole range of phenomena which receive a natural explanation when we assume that glottalization is ancient in Germanic. The methodological question is: why have scholars been reluctant to identify the vestjysk stød with the English glottalization as a historical reality which may have been inherited from the proto-language? The role of general linguistics is to provide an idea of what can be expected in linguistic development, not by theoretical reasoning but by inspection of what actually happens.

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Author:Frederik H. H. KortlandtGND
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2010/07/07
Year of first Publication:2002
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/07/07
GND Keyword:Historische Sprachwissenschaft
Page Number:15
First Page:1
Last Page:15
Postprint, korrigierte Version, zuerst in: Rask, 2.1995, S. 91-109
Source: ; (in:) Rask, 2, 1995, S. 91-109
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Linguistik-Klassifikation:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Sprachtypologie / Language typology
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht