Universiteit Leiden

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Historical and Comparative Linguistics

Historical Linguistics and Philology

The topic of Historical Linguistics and Philology at LUCL is language change in its broadest sense.

It ranges from the study of older stages of literary languages and dialects and their development over time through the interpretation of older textual sources to the reconstruction of non-Indo-European prehistoric ancestor languages and the reconstruction of population prehistory informed by linguistic evidence.

Lines of research

Important lines of research include:

  • Comparative Historical Linguistics: The reconstruction of prehistoric ancestor languages based on the comparison of related languages, such Semitic and Nakh (North Caucasian)
  • Language and the Human Past: The integration of linguistic with archaeological and genetic evidence to reconstruct the human past, for instance in the Upper Amazon in South America
  • Language History: The study of older stages and their development over time of individual languages such as Aramaic, English and Italian
  • Philology: The study of older textual sources such as Russian birch bark texts and the manuscripts of the Qur’an
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