Linguistic reconstruction

Linguistic Reconstruction

Linguistic reconstruction

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Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of the unattested ancestor (proto-language) of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction. Internal reconstruction uses irregularities in a single language to make inferences about an earlier stage of that language. Comparative reconstruction, usually referred to just as reconstruction, establishes features of the ancestor of two or more related languages by means of the comparative method.

Reconstructed terms or phrases are prefaced with an asterisk (*), to distinguish them from attested terms.


  • Anthony Foks, Linguistic Reconstruction: An Introduction to Theory and Method (Oksford University Press, 1995) ISBN 0-19-870001-6.
  • Henry M. Hoenigswald, Language Change and Linguistic Reconstruction (University of Chicago Press, 1960) ISBN 0-226-34741-9.

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