Historical linguistics (often called diachronic linguistics) is the study of language changing over time and conditions. It has five main areas:
to analyze and account for observed changes in particular languages;
to rebuild the pre-history of languages and detect the relations between them, sorting them into language families (comparative linguistics);
to develop general theories about language changes;
to describe the history of speech communities;
to study the history of words, i.e. etymology.
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