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Thread: How do fast languages evolutions occur?

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    How do fast languages evolutions occur?



    What are the origins of the sudden and significant linguistic changes that occur in a language like the shift between Pre and Proto Germanic, between Latin and Old French or between Old and modern Irish?
    Could we link it with historical or social events?
    Last edited by spongetaro; 22-12-11 at 19:00.

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    Can you ask about anything easier? lol

    I think first we would need to invent a scale to measure language change, and be able to compare the changes in different languages. I'm guessing that it borders with something impossible.

    Secondly, we would need to separate normal evolutionary change of a language from forced changes, like exposure to second language.

    Thirdly, we are lacking enough historic records for many languages that you mentioned.

    Lastly, the language of educated elite (written records that survived) was different in some cases from language of commoners.

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    I can only say Lithuanian seems to be one of the slowest in its evolution among the IE languages. But Finno Ugric languages in general seem to be even slower (judging according to numbers of grammatical cases they posses and other complexities). In general languages develop from complex to more simple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagne View Post
    I can only say Lithuanian seems to be one of the slowest in its evolution among the IE languages. But Finno Ugric languages in general seem to be even slower (judging according to numbers of grammatical cases they posses and other complexities). In general languages develop from complex to more simple.
    If I remember well Lithuanian share common features with languages such as Sanskrit or even Gaulish. I don't know the history of Lithuania but maybe the lack of large scale invasions or foreign influences (christianism...) until the middle ages could have played something in it


    EDIT

    As for the Finno Ugric languages, it is maybe linked with the fact that the way of Life of Finno Ugric people remained quite the same for a long time

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Can you ask about anything easier? lol

    I think first we would need to invent a scale to measure language change, and be able to compare the changes in different languages. I'm guessing that it borders with something impossible.
    I agree that it would be impossible though we can at least compare the fastest languages evolution (Old and modern Irish, Latin and Old French...) with the slowest (ancient and modern Greek...) to begin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spongetaro View Post
    If I remember well Lithuanian share common features with languages such as Sanskrit or even Gaulish. I don't know the history of Lithuania but maybe the lack of large scale invasions or foreign influences (christianism...) until the middle ages could have played something in it


    EDIT

    As for the Finno Ugric languages, it is maybe linked with the fact that the way of Life of Finno Ugric people remained quite the same for a long time
    You might be right ... the more traditional the society, the more traditional is the language ... I don't know if this feature (stubbornness, sort of unti-innovation) is something to be proud of...

    In any case, I wonder how much did Japanese and Chinese evolve ?

    Could someone comment?


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    I laugh cause there was a research in Greece at experimental schools 3 times,

    1 was about 50;s
    1 about 70's
    1 about 90's

    consider that at 50's school had an artificial language
    at 70 had thracian idiom (con/polis Greek Τρανταφυλιδης Γραμματικη 1955)
    at 90 the modern Greek (free language that follows Thracian idiom's grammatical rules)

    research was on 12-13 years old that first time learn Ancient Greek

    the research contained Homeric Attic and Hellenistic2 (1100 BC 400 BC 100 AD)

    at decate of 50's 70% understand hellenistic 45% Attic and only 25% homeric

    at decate of 70's that was 85% Hellenistic 60% Attic and only 15% Homeric

    at decate of 90's that was 60% Hellenistic 35% Attic and only 2% Homeric

    the search was about words or forms that are not in common use every day

    As you see in 3000 years first written and known Language become unknown to young people,
    and they learn it in school as 'foreign' language,

    the most exciting is that in 40 years less young people know hellenistic even though they go to church where testimony is in Hellenistic2

    a research that was done in free speech of people 15-19 show that they knew better another language (English german italian Francais etc) and use foreign words as loan or turn them to Greek sounds to express their thoughs at 15% !!!!!


    the result after school > 18 years is that 75-95% understand Hellenistic and 60-70% Attic
    but only 45% can express speech in Hellenistic and 30% at Attic
    the differences are among Urban and country(villages)

    a research by Stavropoulos in Kallash Pakistan show that even words had changed to another language (example Estia->Tzestia Zeus ->Zeo etc) but sounds remain the same
    Kallash although speak today another language their sounds are same with hellenistic and modern Greek, especially s which does not shift to sh often

    as you see the more written and the more well teach a language the more stable it is,
    the less written the more words change, but sounds resist the change,




    you can hear the Γ Σ Δ etc aven d is nt.


    Other good example of how languages change is the Slavic language with Cyrillic and Great moravia Slavic, that language kept Slavic languages to a prototype a stereotype so modern Slavic languages are common in between them, although each follows its way, basic Grammar is after the Slavonic of Cyrill,
    the Germans
    Germanic I believe changed more than Slavic,
    Even Luther could not stop it,
    But was stabilized at least as deutsch by Goethe
    soon the possibilty to became more than 1 languages stoped,
    adoption of 1 common agreed form (I think hanover's) stop fast and different mutation process
    and push 1 common exelixis,

    to understand how fast a language change better turn to USA,
    although schools exist a Texan with a NYer have totally different accent,
    consider when Texas become a state, and you see that 3-5 generations is enough,
    and if scholl did not exist in Texas surely we might have a new language.
    Last edited by Yetos; 23-12-11 at 04:41.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagne View Post
    You might be right ... the more traditional the society, the more traditional is the language ... I don't know if this feature (stubbornness, sort of unti-innovation) is something to be proud of...

    In any case, I wonder how much did Japanese and Chinese evolve ?

    Could someone comment?
    why link the traditionnal charactere of a language to stubbornness? a too quickly evolving language is not a proof of worth - sure some difficulties of grammar can be avoided by good simplification but clearness of language is an advantage - I know a lot of cases of dialectal evolutions that are almost letal even for the closer places inter-understanding - it's true that lexical and phonetic evolutions seam going faster and then being more dangerous than grammatical ones but as a whole...
    speed of total linguistic evolution is very difficult to evaluate: because we have now a far more powerful controle of litterary written (official) languages on their vernaculary dialects than before - in ancien time languages could change very quickly -
    other problem: the changes speed is not constant: I believe there had been quick changes in ancient time when a language was adopted by people speaking previously an other one - for phonetic changes overall - for grammar isn't so sure even if they took place at last by the force of "inertie" - I think it would be very hard to find out a good system of evolution evaluation for evolution speed -

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    [QUOTE=Yetos;390248]

    a research by Stavropoulos in Kallash Pakistan show that even words had changed to another language (example Estia->Tzestia Zeus ->Zeo etc) but sounds remain the same
    Kallash although speak today another language their sounds are same with hellenistic and modern Greek, especially s which does not shift to sh often

    as you see the more written and the more well teach a language the more stable it is,
    the less written the more words change, but sounds resist the change,

    OK
    sounds can resist the change but not always: maybe there is a stabilization after some time but some sounds can't remind the same ones for thousands of years - the basic sounds of the language can remind further but there is no certainty of that: in Oil France the latin 'kw-' reminds /k/ when preceding vowels like I,E by opposition to the previous 'k-' that was gone to /tch/>>/sh/ preceding A, and /ts/>>/s/ preceding I,E - but today the force of evolution is yet at work and this /k/ is turning into /ky/ or /tch/ in some regions even if these speakers pronounce /k/ when reading - it depends on langauges and tendancies - lenition of G, D is running on in some spanish varnaculars and in some breton dialectes - breton /z/<</d/ and welsh /dh/ << /d/ are in danger of fating out in a lot of words - etc...

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