in languages -- how they work, how they shed light on prehistory,
anything. Wordcorr embodies the principles used to find out about
language similarities and language history.
To work our way back to before written history, we have three kinds
- comparative linguistics
starts with the straightforward observation that some languages are
fairly similar to others in regard to vocabulary, grammar, and the
way their speakers conceptualize the world. Think of French and
Spanish, Russian and Polish, Tagalog and Ilocano.
Methodology. Linguists have
a careful plan for sorting out the identities, similarities, and
differences in all those areas. Very often things that seem similar
turn out to be rare coincidences, or sometimes borrowings. So the
linguist learns how to sort out consistent patterns of
correspondence among languages, and to sideline the long shots.
In comparing words across
languages, the linguists' plan leads us to recognize regular
patterns of sound change that are shared by some languages but not
Read Lyle Campbell's Historical
Linguistics: An introduction (second edition, MIT Press),
especially the fifth chapter. If that makes sense to you, be our
guest: look around this Web site some
more, download Wordcorr (it's
free), then try it on some of the demonstration
Then if you want to know more, get
in touch with us. Or find a linguist
in a university near you.
finished looking at this and following out some links, click here
to go to New user.
|Do you need a degree in linguistics to use Wordcorr?
Wordcorr is designed so that world
class professional linguists can enhance their work by using it.
But the principles behind it are well within the grasp of high
school students who are interested in languages. Figuring out how
languages develop is a kind of Sherlock Holmes game.
And if you do have a degree in
linguistics, or even an introductory course in linguistics, you're
already on familiar ground with Wordcorr.