LANGUAGE VARIATION AND CHANGE IN ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL EUROPE: Old & Middle English - Old High German - Old Norse - Old Romance - Ancient Greek


Nikolaos Lavidas

(National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

This course presents long-standing questions about the idea of linguistic kinship and the origin of Indo-European languages. The main topics of the course include the description of the reconstructed mother tongue of the Indo-European family, which is the result of the comparison of the structure of the different Indo-European languages. We will examine how the Indo-European protolanguage is reconstructed, and how language relationships are justified. We will also evaluate scientific approaches to the history/ prehistory of languages and peoples. We will discuss the main characteristics of Indo-European subfamilies in ancient Europe: how they arrived to Europe and their main morpho-syntactic characteristics. The course will provide exemplification of comparative approaches on Proto-Indo-European morpho-syntax.


  • Genetic affinity: how are languages shown to be related to
    one another? The principals and methods of genetic comparison
  • How some languages were shown to belong to Indo-European: Classification and subgrouping
  • Isoglosses
  • Language contact and Indo-European linguistics
  • How realistic are reconstructed Proto-languages?
  • Indo-European dialectology