Comparative linguistics is an umbrella term for linguistic disciplines that are dedicated to the comparison of individual languages or of different language levels of a specific individual language. The field is often referred to as comparative linguistics and should not be confused with comparative literature in the sense of comparative literature.
When comparing languages , a distinction can be made between two types of research. On the one hand, it can be a diachronic comparison, i.e. a comparison of a language in the course of its development over time; on the other hand, a comparison can be made from a synchronous point of view, i.e. a linguistic phenomenon or a linguistic system can be examined at a certain point in time and compared with other phenomena or linguistic systems.
Essentially, comparative linguistics is divided into general comparative and historical comparative subjects. The former sub-areas are also considered subjects of general linguistics , the latter are also assigned to historical linguistics .
The following linguistic sub-disciplines belong to comparative linguistics:
- The comparative historical linguistics (also diachronic ) was founded in the 19th century and it has been attempted by means of systematic language comparison to the linguistic description levels phonology , morphology and syntax of the origin and genetic relationships to elicit between individual languages and language families to determine and describe. Individual disciplines have emerged from it that deal with certain large language groups, such as Indo-European studies (with Indo-European languages ), Semitic studies (with Semitic languages ) or Finno-Ugric studies (with Uralic or Finno-Ugric languages ).
The following closely related sub-areas are considered general comparative subjects:
- the contrastive linguistics (especially in Eastern Europe and confrontational linguistics called), which focuses on the systematic comparison of languages at different linguistic levels of description;
- the contact linguistics , linguistic phenomena and to explore which describes that arise upon contact between (typically) two languages or upon contact between the users of these languages;
- the language typology , which typologizes languages on the basis of certain linguistic criteria;
- the area typology , which u. a. Language federations determined.
- Guy Deutscher: In the mirror of language. Why the world looks different in other languages , from English by Martin Pfeiffer; Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2010 ISBN 978-3-498-03001-8
- Theodor Lewandowski: Linguistic Dictionary. 4., rework. Aufl. Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1984. ISBN 3-494-02020-5
- Harald Wiese: A journey through time to the origins of our language. How Indo-European Studies explains our words. Logos Verlag, Berlin 2010, 2nd edition, ISBN 978-3-8325-1601-7 .