History and Government: How is Linguistics used as a source of History

CHAPTER ONE

1 b vii).Explain Linguistics as a source of History

Linguistics can be defined as the scientific approach used to study language. I! deals with aspects such as grammar patterns, similarities and differences between languages to find out if they are genetically related. For example, if two languages display regular correspondences in form and meaning in as much as 20% of their vocabularies (provided that borrowing can be ruled out by some special techniques), they are said to be genetically related.

Genetic classification of languages involves comparing words that are similar in both form and meaning. Where the languages have descended from a common parent, words having the same meaning may be expected to show regular correspondence in sounds that are contained in them.

Linguistics is of great help to historians when trying to find out to which language family a particular language belongs. Genetically, related languages are assumed to have diversified through the operation of geographical and cultural factors from an originally homogeneous parent or proto language.

Thus, the study of Linguistics helps the historian te know which groups of people had or shared a common origin and language, A good example of such language families is the Bantu group which has more -than 400 communities in East, Central and South Africa. Most of these communities recognize some words in each other’s language.

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