Thursday, September 22, 2005

Language Reconstruction

One of the classes this semester is Historical Linguistics. It looks at several topics including figuring out what languages are related, meaning they came from the same original language (think French from Latin), and how to reconstruct the original language. It's kind of fun, like little puzzles to solve. It hasn't convinced me to switch my area of focus, but it's certainly a rather fun topic.

6 comments:

katze said...

One of my favorite classes in undergrad was "Geschichte der deutchen Sprache" (History of the German Language),in which we traced the development of the German language from its indoeuropean roots through to Luther and his Bible and on into modern High German. It was so much fun to map out the shifts in consonants and to see how the language grew and solidified, influenced by historical events and geography. In the case of German, the strong and distinctive dialects which survived until q

katze said...

(oops, cut myself off there!) ...quite recently, historically speaking, had a fascinating interaction with each other and, later, with the imposition of one particular dialect as "Standard German" by dint of being the dialect used by Luther.

If I could get paid to sit around and muck about with that stuff, I would drop out of law school in a heartbeat.

pacatrue said...

Well, I hope you can get paid to do this, since I'm in a doctoral program in linguistics. I did have my sights set on an actual job after classes were done. However, it is true that historical ling isn't a huge field right now. I see most of the job announcements that go to the world-wide linguist list and there aren't many for historical reconstruction.

katze said...

Yeah, and that was a major reason why I ditched my Ph.D program in favor of law school: I was also hoping to get a job one day. I guess I'm just too risk-averse to take a shot at the career in academia I'd like to have, plus there's that whole "political activist" streak I have... So, law school it is!

pacatrue said...

I don't think we have enought political activists, especially smart, caring ones like yourself, so I wholly applaud your direction.

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