Please advise how https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/q/13163/5306 and https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/q/13162/5306 can be made less broad, for reopening, please?

1 Answer 1


For the first question, it is also unclear what you want to know. Are you asking for the best introduction to Spanish historical linguistics? There might be 3-4 candidate books, so it would be useful to explain in more detail what kind of book you're looking for (also, whether it matters to you what language the book is written in). By analogy, a question asking for references on Indo-European historical linguistics would generate a huge number of replies. Narrowing it down to "the best introduction" would help -- one might consider Outline of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-Germanic Languages, or Proto-Indo-European Phonology and Proto-Indo-European Syntax, or Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction, or Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics, but probably not New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin or Introduction to the Laryngeal theory. But Outline of the Comparative Grammar... is more of an exhaustive compendium and might be overwhelming if you weren't already familiar with the subject, so it would depend on whether you were looking for a rigorous introduction vs. an elementary introduction. We have no idea what you already know.

I don't understand the second question at all. French doesn't have any difficulties, so there's nothing to explain as far as I can see.

  • On Spanish: I don't know if 'historical linguistics' wholly describe my search area. I seek a book or resource that explains the examples given. On French: French doesn't have any difficulties. Please forgive my inexperience with French then. Do my 4 examples not exemplify my search area?
    – user5306
    Sep 4, 2015 at 2:54
  • @Le: You want to be careful with that word explain. Mostly you don't get explanations; you get correlations at best. Explanations are for theories, but facts come first. If you read Spanish, try the standard Mexican preparatorio textbook: Compendio de Etymologías Grecolatinas del Español (Editorial Esfinge). It's very complete, and in very clear Spanish. Doesn't say much about the many Arabic borrowings in Spanish, but that's understandable, given Spanish history; and it's superb on showing how Latin mutated into Spanish, and what happened to Greek borrowings along the way.
    – jlawler
    Sep 16, 2015 at 19:41
  • @le, to take one example, you state that "I only learned yesterday that the ne explétif in verbes de crainte et d'empêchement derives from and can be explained by Latin's fear clauses". This is not a difficulty for French. Perhaps you are having some difficulty in understanding something about that fact, but it beats me what it is that you don't understand. Rather than putting out a fact and implying that there's a problem, I would state the fact and ask one single question about my lack of understanding of the fact (for example "How long has this fact been known?", "is it true?", etc.
    – user6726
    Sep 16, 2015 at 20:13

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