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Philology from the mid 16 to late 1700s

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    Posted: 20 Jul 2016 at 07:59

I'm particularly interested, but not exactly knowledgable in, philology. There are several things I'm interested in seeing; I want to one day find some rare documentation somewhere online of examples of colloquial conversations and slang usage in the English language (particularly in the Colonies/United States) from the mid 16 to late 1700s. I am assuming that, based on all the historical information I've learned from school and Wikipedia research and such, that the 16 and 1700s and before that was almost like a completely different universe (speaking metaphorically) than it is now. They didn't have things like electronics, video games, computers, TV, or anything of the sort. And that "universe" is something I'd really like to learn, as in, learning how people lived their everyday lives and try to relate/compare it to our time period. An example of a specific thing I'd like to find out is if alcoholism or drug abuse were more of a problem in the Colonies/newly founded US than it is now, since it honestly does not seem like there was THAT much people could do for fun, especially in some areas, back then. I mean books and newspapers for them (at least the literate ones) were like TV for us now. And people seemed to be less focused on fun and more focused on religion and/or working to survive. Another example of something is I'd also like to know more than I do now about their religious values, and how atheists/agnostics were viewed back then by regular people, and what some of these atheists were like back then and how secret they were about their views. These are all things I wonder, but don't think finding documentation that helps me understand these things to a large extent is easy; it may even be impossible, but I'll never know until I try.

Do you know a good way I can research these things, such as a really good archiving site? I have found many archived things, although many of my searches for archived and free things (such as old newspapers from the time, etc.) remain unsuccessful.

I'm sure someone could help me out? Thanks.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2016 at 10:49
I think that you might look at "historical linguistics," or some other category of linguistics, I think philology is more the study of ancient languages, particularly in written form.  Modern philology tends to be 'the classics,' Greek and Latin, but in antiquity the Babylonians and others did philology of Sumerian stuff.

If you want to get a background in linguistics, I would suggest looking at the Great Courses taught by John McWhorter, on linguistics and other topics.  It sounds like you want to focus more on particular eras and so there would probably be a lot in his lectures that you wouldn't necessarily find interesting.  But see if he
has anything on youtube, I wouldn't be surprised if he did.  Great Courses are not cheap, and might be an overload for you, but at the same time, realize when you are signed up with them, things are always going on sale.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jul 2016 at 21:11
Welcome Ready Steady Yeti

Our forum here is number two because the first forum got too big, and that is our archive now.

It has a vast number of posts, including many that hopefully might fit your needs.

You can find the Archive from the menu on top - but to make it easy for you here is the link:


~ North
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