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The Linguistic Comparative Method

by Janez Oresnik

Filozofska fakulteta v Ljubljani

The paper offers a brief introduction to the so-called comparative method, which comparative linguistics uses to determine genetic affiliation of languages.  It is a tenet of the comparative method that the probability of a genetic link between any two languages rises with the quantity of the so-called correspondences between the two languages, especially in their sound systems.  This is exemplified with Slovenian and Russian phonetic correspondences obtaining in synonymous words of both languages.

Some other requirements of the comparative method are also mentioned.  The method rejects isolated examples, onomatopoetic words, and child language.  Valid correspondences can only be extracted from language units whose meanings are not disputable.


Page Created:  October 20, 2001
Page Updated:  October 21, 2001
ęCopyright 2001 Gary L. Gorsha