0x505 Historical Linguistics

Historical linguistics studies how languages change in time and space

  • Diachrony: study development and evolution of languages through time
  • Synchrony: study language at a moment in time

Language Family

Indo-European (Derived from PIE)

  • Germanic: English, German (Grimm’s law)
  • Romance: Italic, French, Spanish(Derived from Vulgar Latin)
  • Hellenic: Greek
  • Balto-Slavic: Russian, Czech, Polish
  • Indo-Iranian: Hindi, Bengali
  • Celtic: Welsh (VSO)


  • Chinese, Tibetan languages


The largest language family by the number of languages (~1500), 3rd largest family by the number of speakers (~700m)

  • Bantu: swahili, zulu
  • Yoruba
  • Igbo


  • Arabic (VOS), Hebrew (VOS), Aramaic


  • Verb initial (VOS)
  • Malay, Indonesian, Walpiri, Malagacy