By Anthony F. Hartley (auth.)
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Additional info for Linguistics for Language Learners
In order to mark off this spectrum into sections, linguists try to establish, thanks to field surveys, maps bearing 'linguistic contours' known as isoglosses. Each isogloss marks a change in use with respect to a given featur~, be it phonetic, lexical or syntactic. 3 shows two isoglosses. To the north of the dotted line speakers say muck and to the south dung. In most of the Midlands and England north of the broken line speakers pronounce suck [sulk], while to the south it is generally pronounced [sAk].
The logical extension of such reconstructions and of the existence of regular correspondences between related languages is to attempt to trace the members of a language family back to a 'parent' language. The model adopted is that of the family tree showing a chain of downward transmission of inherited features from one stage to the next, and in which the closeness or remoteness of the branches is a reflection of the relatedness of the languages. This comparative method aims to reconstruct proto-languages, which are unattested by actual texts (reconstructed forms are marked *).
They show the linguistic particularity of Gascony. A bundle of six major isoglosses running southwest-northeast across central Germany marks the transition from Plattdeutsch in the north to Hochdeutsch. 5), whereas the standard is used by the media and those who run the country, and is furthermore a sign of authority and prestige. Thus 'the French language', 'the German language' and virtually all other languages are far from uniform and homogeneous in their actual use because of their many regional and functional variations.
Linguistics for Language Learners by Anthony F. Hartley (auth.)