In linguistics, the comparative method is a technique for studying the development of languages by performing a feature-by-feature comparison of two or more languages with common descent from a shared ancestor, in order to extrapolate back to infer the properties of that ancestor. The comparative method may be contrasted with the method of internal reconstruction, in which the internal development of a single language is inferred by the analysis of features within that language. Ordinarily both methods are used together to reconstruct prehistoric phases of languages, to fill in gaps in the historical record of a language, to discover the development of phonological and other linguistic systems, to confirm or refute hypothesised relationships between languages; the comparative method was developed over the 19th century. Key contributions were made by the Danish scholars Rasmus Rask and Karl Verner and the German scholar Jacob Grimm; the first linguist to offer reconstructed forms from a proto-language was August Schleicher, in his Compendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen published in 1861.
Here is Schleicher's explanation of why he offered reconstructed forms: In the present work an attempt is made to set forth the inferred Indo-European original language side by side with its existent derived languages. Besides the advantages offered by such a plan, in setting before the eyes of the student the final results of the investigation in a more concrete form, thereby rendering easier his insight into the nature of particular Indo-European languages, there is, I think, another of no less importance gained by it, namely that it shows the baselessness of the assumption that the non-Indian Indo-European languages were derived from Old-Indian; the comparative method aims to prove that two or more attested languages descend from a single proto-language by comparing lists of cognate terms. From them, regular sound correspondences between the languages are established, a sequence of regular sound changes can be postulated, which allows the reconstruction of a proto-language. Relation is deemed certain only if at least a partial reconstruction of the common ancestor is feasible, if regular sound correspondences can be established—with chance similarities ruled out.
Descent is defined as transmission across the generations: children learn a language from the parents' generation and after being influenced by their peers transmit it to the next generation, so on. For example, a continuous chain of speakers across the centuries links Vulgar Latin to all of its modern descendants. Two languages are genetically related. For example and French both come from Latin and therefore belong to the same family, the Romance languages. Having a large component of vocabulary from a certain origin is not sufficient to establish relatedness: for example, as a result of heavy borrowing from Arabic into Persian, Modern Persian in fact takes more of its vocabulary from Arabic than from its direct ancestor, Proto-Indo-Iranian, but Persian remains a member of the Indo-Iranian family and is not considered "related" to Arabic. However, it is possible for languages to have different degrees of relatedness. English, for example, is related both to German and to Russian, but is more related to the former than to the latter.
Although all three languages share a common ancestor, Proto-Indo-European and German share a more recent common ancestor, Proto-Germanic, while Russian does not. Therefore and German are considered to belong to a different subgroup, the Germanic languages. Shared retentions from the parent language are not sufficient evidence of a sub-group. For example and Russian both retain from Proto-Indo-European a contrast between the dative case and the accusative case, which English has lost. However, this similarity between German and Russian is not evidence that German is more related to Russian than to English; the division of related languages into sub-groups is more accomplished by finding shared linguistic innovations differentiating them from the parent language, rather than shared features retained from the parent language. Languages have been compared since antiquity. For example, in the 1st century BC the Romans were aware of the similarities between Greek and Latin, which they explained mythologically, as the result of Rome being a Greek colony speaking a debased dialect.
In the 9th or 10th century AD, Yehuda Ibn Quraysh compared the phonology and morphology of Hebrew and Arabic, but attributed this resemblance to the Biblical story of Babel, with Abraham and Joseph retaining Adam's language, with other languages at various removes becoming more altered from the original Hebrew. In publications of 1647 and 1654, Marcus van Boxhorn first described a rigid methodology for historical linguistic comparisons and proposed the existence of an Indo-European proto-language unrelated to Hebrew, but ancestral to Germanic, Romance, Sanskrit, Slavic and Baltic languages; the Scythian theory was further developed by Andreas Jäger and William Wotton, who made early forays to reconstruct this primitive common language. In 1710 and 1723 Lambert ten Kate first formulated the regularity of sound laws, introducing among others, the term root vowel. Another early systematic attempt to prove the relationship between two languages on the basis of similarity of grammar and lexicon was made by the Hungarian János Sajnovics in 1770, when he attempted to
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language; the IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, speech-language pathologists, actors, constructed language creators and translators. The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes and the separation of words and syllables. To represent additional qualities of speech, such as tooth gnashing and sounds made with a cleft lip and cleft palate, an extended set of symbols, the extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet, may be used. IPA symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types and diacritics. For example, the sound of the English letter ⟨t⟩ may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter, or with a letter plus diacritics, depending on how precise one wishes to be.
Slashes are used to signal broad or phonemic transcription. Letters or diacritics are added, removed or modified by the International Phonetic Association; as of the most recent change in 2005, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics and four prosodic marks in the IPA. These are shown in the current IPA chart, posted below in this article and at the website of the IPA. In 1886, a group of French and British language teachers, led by the French linguist Paul Passy, formed what would come to be known from 1897 onwards as the International Phonetic Association, their original alphabet was based on a spelling reform for English known as the Romic alphabet, but in order to make it usable for other languages, the values of the symbols were allowed to vary from language to language. For example, the sound was represented with the letter ⟨c⟩ in English, but with the digraph ⟨ch⟩ in French. However, in 1888, the alphabet was revised so as to be uniform across languages, thus providing the base for all future revisions.
The idea of making the IPA was first suggested by Otto Jespersen in a letter to Paul Passy. It was developed by Alexander John Ellis, Henry Sweet, Daniel Jones, Passy. Since its creation, the IPA has undergone a number of revisions. After revisions and expansions from the 1890s to the 1940s, the IPA remained unchanged until the Kiel Convention in 1989. A minor revision took place in 1993 with the addition of four letters for mid central vowels and the removal of letters for voiceless implosives; the alphabet was last revised in May 2005 with the addition of a letter for a labiodental flap. Apart from the addition and removal of symbols, changes to the IPA have consisted of renaming symbols and categories and in modifying typefaces. Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet for speech pathology were created in 1990 and adopted by the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association in 1994; the general principle of the IPA is to provide one letter for each distinctive sound, although this practice is not followed if the sound itself is complex.
This means that: It does not use combinations of letters to represent single sounds, the way English does with ⟨sh⟩, ⟨th⟩ and ⟨ng⟩, or single letters to represent multiple sounds the way ⟨x⟩ represents /ks/ or /ɡz/ in English. There are no letters that have context-dependent sound values, as do "hard" and "soft" ⟨c⟩ or ⟨g⟩ in several European languages; the IPA does not have separate letters for two sounds if no known language makes a distinction between them, a property known as "selectiveness". Among the symbols of the IPA, 107 letters represent consonants and vowels, 31 diacritics are used to modify these, 19 additional signs indicate suprasegmental qualities such as length, tone and intonation; these are organized into a chart. The letters chosen for the IPA are meant to harmonize with the Latin alphabet. For this reason, most letters modifications thereof; some letters are neither: for example, the letter denoting the glottal stop, ⟨ʔ⟩, has the form of a dotless question mark, derives from an apostrophe.
A few letters, such as that of the voiced pharyngeal fricative, ⟨ʕ⟩, were inspired by other writing systems. Despite its preference for harmonizing with the Latin script, the International Phonetic Association has admitted other letters. For example, before 1989, the IPA letters for click consonants were ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ʇ⟩, ⟨ʗ⟩, ⟨ʖ⟩, all of which were derived either from existing IPA letters, or from Latin and Greek letters. However, except for ⟨ʘ⟩, none of these letters were used among Khoisanists or Bantuists, as a result they were replaced by the more widespread symbols ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ǀ⟩, ⟨ǃ⟩, ⟨ǂ⟩, ⟨ǁ⟩ at the IPA Kiel Convention in 1989. Although the IPA diacritics are featural, there is little systemicity in the letter forms. A retroflex articulation is indicated with a right-swinging tail, as in ⟨ɖ ʂ ɳ⟩, implosion by a top hook, ⟨ɓ ɗ ɠ⟩, but other pseudo-featural elements are due to haphazard derivation and coincidence. For example, all nasal consonants but uvular ⟨ɴ⟩ are based on the form ⟨n⟩: ⟨m ɱ n ɳ ɲ ŋ⟩.
However, the similarity between ⟨m⟩ and ⟨n⟩ is a historical accident. Some of the new letters were ordinary Latin letters tu
A naming taboo is a cultural taboo against speaking or writing the given names of exalted persons in China and within the Chinese cultural sphere. It was enforced by several laws throughout Imperial China, but its cultural and religious origins predate the Qin dynasty. Not respecting the appropriate naming taboos was considered a sign of lacking education and respect, brought shame both to the offender and the offended person; the naming taboo of the state discouraged the use of the emperor's given name and those of his ancestors. For example, during the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang's given name Zheng was avoided, the first month of the year "Zhèng Yuè" was rewritten into "Zhēng Yuè" and furthermore renamed as "Duan Yue"; the strength of this taboo was reinforced by law. In 1777, Wang Xihou in his dictionary criticized the Kangxi dictionary and wrote the Qianlong Emperor's name without leaving out any stroke as required; this disrespect resulted in his and his family's executions and confiscation of their property.
This type of naming taboo is no longer observed in modern China. The naming taboo of the clan discouraged the use of the names of one's own ancestors. Ancestor names going back to seven generations were avoided. In diplomatic documents and letters between clans, each clan's naming taboos were observed; the naming taboo of the holinesses discouraged the use of the names of respected people. For example, writing Confucius' name was taboo during the Jin Dynasty. There were three ways to avoid using a taboo character: Changing the character to another one a synonym or which sounded similar to the character being avoided. For example, the Xuanwu Gate of the Forbidden City was renamed as "Shenwu" in order to avoid using a character from the Kangxi Emperor's name, Xuanye. Leaving the character as a blank. Omitting a stroke in the character the final stroke. Throughout Chinese history, there were emperors whose names contained common characters who would try to alleviate the burden of the populace in practicing name avoidance.
For example, Emperor Xuan of Han, whose given name Bingyi contained two common characters, changed his name to Xun, a far less common character, with the stated purpose of making it easier for his people to avoid using his name. Emperor Taizong of Tang, whose given name Shimin contained two common characters, ordered that name avoidance only required the avoidance of the characters Shi and Min in direct succession and that it did not require the avoidance of those characters in isolation. However, his son Emperor Gaozong of Tang made this edict of Emperor Taizong ineffective after his death by requiring the complete avoidance of the characters Shi and Min, necessitating the chancellor Li Shiji to change his name to Li Ji. In dynasties, princes were given names that contained uncommon characters to make it easier for the public to avoid them, should they become emperor in life; the custom of naming taboo had a built-in contradiction: without knowing what the emperors' names were one could hardly be expected to avoid them, so somehow the emperors' names had to be informally transmitted to the populace to allow them to learn them in order to avoid them.
In one famous incident in 435, during the Northern Wei Dynasty, Goguryeo ambassadors made a formal request that the imperial government issue them a document containing the emperors' names so that they could avoid offending the emperor while submitting their king's petition. Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei issued them such a document. However, the mechanism of how the regular populace would be able to learn the emperors' names remained unclear throughout Chinese history; this taboo is important to keep in mind when studying ancient historical texts from the cultural sphere, as historical characters and/or locations may be renamed if they happen to share a name with the emperor in power when the text was written. Thus, the study of naming taboos can help date an ancient text. Japan was influenced by the naming taboo. In modern Japan, it concerns only the Emperor of Japan, whom people only refer as Tennō Heika or Kinjō Heika. Ancient Japanese people had so much respect for this custom that historians forgot the actual names of many historical figures or sometimes the correct pronunciation, as many Han characters have multiple pronunciations.
For example, the son of Oda Nobunaga, Oda Nobukatsu, is called Oda Nobuo. In Vietnam, the family name Hoàng was changed to Huỳnh in the South due to the naming taboo of Lord Nguyễn Hoàng's name; the family name "Vũ" is known as "Võ" in the South. Imperial examination in Chinese mythology, example Names of God in Judaism, similar taboo Taboo against naming the dead, similar taboo in many cultures 陳垣 ，《史諱舉例》 - the pioneering work in the field, written during the early 20th century, numerous editions