Comments on Readings

Comments on Readings - Comments on Readings History of the...

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Comments on Readings History of the English Language 8/24/07—Watkins In Calvert Watkins’ introduction to the Dictionary of Indo European Roots, he examines and explains a few terms that are critical to understanding the history of the English language. Watkins starts by explaining the comparative method and introducing the concept of linguistic families. The comparative method points out not only the differences between different linguistic families, but the similarities as well. In paragraph six of Watkins’ introduction, he summarizes Sir William Jones’ (founder of IE) findings, “The one fact is that certain languages present similarities among themselves so numerous and so precise that they cannot be attributed to chance and of such a kind that they cannot be explained as borrowings or as universal features.” Understanding the similarities between families allows us to point out cognates and reconstruct words in order to better understand where European languages originated. It is important to analyze and understand the examples of reconstruction given by Watkins. One of the most intimidating features of the IE Roots is how they are formed. Without the examples and explanations of the reconstructions, I feel I would have been lost when looking through the dictionary. Watkins explains in his section on lexicon and culture that the fact that there is language, or protolanguage, suggests that there was a society in which this language was spoken. Therefore, there is a definite link between culture and language. This link is
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complex but gives us a tremendous amount of information about both the language and culture. The study of the language of a certain time gives us a good idea about the culture in which this language existed, and thus we are able to compile a history of the English language. 8/27/07—Tacitus
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course ENGL 314 taught by Professor O'neill during the Spring '08 term at UNC.

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Comments on Readings - Comments on Readings History of the...

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