The phenomenon whereby a language's grammar and lexicon change over time.

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110 views

Has English caused any Languages to undergo Sound Change or Grammar Change?

French historically has caused the presence of several unique sounds in English that would not have been present otherwise. For example the "dʒ" sound in "garage". Similarly, I believe I've read ...
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1answer
30 views

What factors influence the way we adapt loanwords into English?

If someone pronounces "pizza" as /piːzə/ instead of /pitsə/, we'd surely raise an eyebrow at them. But few people (that I know personally) mind when we pronounce "tagliatelle" with a hard G (I wasn't ...
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2answers
427 views

Can we predict written language's evolution due to technological advances?

Using the "shortcuts" that are used nowadays (emoticons, internet abbreviations, email formatting, memes, social media sharing [Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, "tweets" and the like) as a base, can ...
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3answers
53 views

How fast do people lose their accents and regain them?

If a child was born in for example India and moved to America around age 5, but still spoke their native language at home what age would they lose their accent? And then maybe when they are 12 they ...
3
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1answer
72 views

The semantical change of сарай - “saráj” (rus., ukr.) vs. sister and donor languages: pl. 'seraj', srb-cro. 'saraj'

Much like (eng.) saray, the words derive themselves from Ottoman Turkish latinized: saray ("palace", "mansion", "castle"), which itself is derived from Persian سرای ("hall", "dwelling", "mansion", "...
5
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3answers
151 views

Why did French survive in Canada while being far from France, while other languages didn't (Arabic in Malta, Dutch in South Africa)

I always wondered, what makes some languages survive for a long time in a form that is similar to the one from its origin, while others didn't. For example, French in Canada, while being there for ...
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3answers
90 views

Do Germanic words have Romance qualities and vice-versa?

I know English was heavily influenced by French. But were there any other instances during which a Germanic language obtained Romance qualities or a Romance language with Germanic qualities?
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2answers
50 views

Generalisation of the Grimm's Law?

I am not a linguist, but I was reading the Wikipedia page on the Grimm's Law. As far as I understand, this explains a certain evolution of the sounds for Germanic language. Which was obtained while ...
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2answers
54 views

How verb tenses evolve

I have two questions on this topic. The firstmay be too general, but basically, I am curious as to how tenses evolve and whether tenses between languages can be used to help find out whether languages ...
9
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2answers
135 views

Is it realistic for the Grounders' language as depicted in “The 100” to have developed within 97 years?

In the show "The 100", the Grounders speak a language called "Trigedasleng". This language is intended to be a descendant of modern English, and we are to understand that it arose through natural ...
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2answers
85 views

What's a good source of information about how the structure of english sentences has evolved over time?

There is a lot of information about the evolution of English vocabulary since Anglo-Saxon times, but I am looking for examples of how English sentence construction has changed over time.
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1answer
65 views

How do people know the meaning of new rhyming slang?

From the Wikipedia article on Rhyming Slang: One example is replacing the word "stairs" with the rhyming phrase "apples and pears". Following the pattern of omission, "and pears" is dropped, thus ...
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1answer
44 views

Accents and dialects

How are dialects formed? Are they always a diverging branch from the main language or can they be the fruit of a converging process between different languages because of cultural pressure? Also, ...
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2answers
49 views

Culture and language [closed]

Could you give some examples of how cultures affect languages? It is comprehensible that languages reflect cultures. It would be really helpful if you could provide with at least an example of ...
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2answers
73 views

Slip of the meaning of expressions

Numerous expressions get their (popular) meaning largely or totally changed with time. Sometime it is in one language and not the others. Sometimes changes go different ways (cf. formidable or ...
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2answers
72 views

Does standardisation restrain naturally occurring grammar change?

Is change hindered by mass education of grammar rules and idiomatic writing, publishing of lexicons, standardization, etc? Is the only manner in which english is allowed to evolve, as things stand ...
2
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1answer
103 views

Have the Spanish tenses stopped evolving?

I suspect that evolution of Spanish tenses stopped, while being in the middle of replacement of conjugated tenses by compound tenses. In some scenarios compound tense was adopted, in some other cases ...
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0answers
24 views

Word ageing: what reliable bibliographical references can be recommended?

I have encountered the notion of "word ageing". Lexemes (unless and until replaced through internal or external innovation) grow older and older, and with time they tend to (1) acquire some additional ...
2
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1answer
102 views

What is the difference between grammaticalization and grammaticization?

I have encountered two terms recently: grammaticalization and grammaticisation. While in most papers I have read so far both terms seem to be used interchangeably, the following paper appears to ...
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2answers
246 views

Are American English and British English growing closer together or drifting further apart?

I'm mostly wondering about vocabulary (e.g. truck vs. lorry; apartment vs. flat) but I suppose I'd be interested to learn about pronunciation too. Intuitively I feel like this could go either way. ...
2
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3answers
195 views

Does changing the writing system for a language change the language?

Some languages change what writing system they use. For example, Old English used to use Anglo-Saxon runes but eventually used the Latin alphabet, and Mongolian in Mongolia uses the Mongolian Cyrillic ...
2
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1answer
71 views

What is the term for when a general term is used to refer to something specific?

Is there a name for the linguistic phenomenon in which a general term gains a much more specific meaning? For example, "Prohibition" is used to mean "Alcohol prohibition in the United States" or "...
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2answers
160 views

Is Chechen language close to Chinese?

If the both originate from Proto-Sino-Caucasian, then Chechen language should be close to Chinese. Is there any indication for this?
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3answers
85 views

Spelling Similarities in English and Spanish but not in Italian and Spanish

The spelling of the word 'admit' has a ⟨d⟩ in both English and the Spanish equivalent, admitir, but not in Italian ammettere. Why is the ⟨d⟩ absent in the Italian equivalent?
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1answer
111 views

Why is “och” (and) not spelled “og” in Swedish?

For example, here is the word for "I" in the Old Norse dialects. Old East Norse = Jak Old West Norse = Ek These words became, with a natural evolution, the following: Icelandic = Ég Faroese = Eg ...
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1answer
136 views

Globalized mass-media deterring language or dialects differentiation

I was wondering about how strong are the region-wide or country-wide mass-media institutions (be them newspapers or TV channels) as deterrent of language or dialects differentiation. For example, a ...
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1answer
85 views

Which two languages are the most unlike each other? [closed]

So, which two existing languages are the least like each other?
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2answers
99 views

Language characteristics only found in one language

I am looking for language characteristics only found in one single language. (Maybe that could shed some lights on language development, since that could be a starting point to investegate why these ...
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7answers
4k views

Is there a reason behind the phenomenon of English becoming more vulgar with time?

In the last few years I have noticed both with colleagues and from online discussions a tendency for English language writing and speech to become more and more vulgar. That is, I see explicatives ...
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13answers
10k views

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

I wonder if the case system is devised/imposed by literates and not really natural: it is said that the vulgar Latin that most people really used didn't have e.g. the cases (or all of them) of the '...
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3answers
284 views

What is the most recent example of a language which has split from another and become non-mutually comprehensible?

I know linguists like to say "no languages are older or younger than other languages" because they all evolved from ancient roots. With exceptions such as Nicaraguan Sign Language. So let me explain ...
3
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1answer
77 views

Do certain features of a languages change faster on average ?

As for historical linguistics, it is about how features of language change. I stumpled upon here about people writing about grammaticalization, tonogenesis, transformation from one typology to the ...
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4answers
256 views

Are there documented languages that evolved from tonal to nontonal?

There is a theory about tonogenesis for the Chinese language, thus Chinese had once a more complex syllable-structure and no tones. In the course of time, the syllable structure became less complex ...
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3answers
153 views

Is there a trend toward more homophones over time? What can counteract that trend?

It is my understanding (correct me if I am wrong) that many homophones develop as a result of phonemic mergers. For instance, I, like many Americans, have a "cot-caught" merger where I do not make a ...
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0answers
66 views

“an” -> “a” When Describing a Noun With Adjectives

Observed in fluent speech: a unrounded vowel To a native English speaker, the following would be expected instead: an unrounded vowel What's happening here? It looks like the speaker is ...
5
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3answers
172 views

Has anyone attempted to simulate the creation/development of a language?

I suspect this is a dream confined to sci-fi for at least a few decades, but, I'd like to know if anyone has ever tried to create a computer model for the creation of a language, or at least ...
2
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1answer
129 views

Time annotated corpus: plain text english corpus

I am working on how entities take a new sense over time. I am trying to find out a large english corpus (free to download) which should have the time annotation of the origin of the text. I suppose ...
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2answers
383 views

Why has Paris French mostly lost the distinction between /e/ and /ɛ/?

Why has Paris French mostly lost the distinction between /e/ and /ɛ/? As in, the difference between 'Je le ferai' and 'Je le ferais', 'poignée' and 'poignet', or more simply between the é sound and ...
4
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3answers
302 views

What parts of speech are the most, and least, susceptible to linguistic change? And why?

What parts of speech are the most susceptible, and the least susceptible, to linguistic change? And why? I would think that nouns are the most susceptible, and that closed word classes, such as ...
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4answers
426 views

What is known or believed about the origin of Semitic-type root-and-template morphology?

How does nonconcatenative morphology of the Semitic type (consonantal roots, vocalic templates + affixes) arise diachronically? It's pretty easy to see how a nonconcatenative inflectional system ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Can we choose words to avoid change?

The pronunciation and meaning of words change over time, as a result of a variety of forces. These forces are well documented and fairly well understood. Given this knowledge, is it possible to coin ...
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2answers
170 views

Would it be possible to discover through linguistics if any non-human languages influenced known language families?

Suppose some recent hominins such as Neanderthal had a spoken language (currently, as far as I'm aware, we are uncertain if they did, but suppose we knew they did). If this were the case, would it be ...
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1answer
88 views

Who or which academic paper first noted the death of a language every two weeks?

One language dies every two weeks. But where does that statistic come from? Everyone is saying it without explicit citation. Who or which academic paper first noted the death of a language every two ...
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1answer
1k views

Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French number words from eleven to nineteen - history of a bizarre, inconsistent construction

Following Sklivvz's advice, I propose here a question I made in Italian Language. Because I am not sure how I should do this, I will just copy/paste the whole lot. Let's count in Latin from one to ...
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2answers
118 views

What are the main criteria for a grammar mistake to become a new normative?

I am conducting a small research on the usage of dual in the Czech language. Normally, the dual is used only when referring to body parts (legs, eyes, knees etc) and the number 200. However, in spoken ...
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1answer
118 views

Do we know of any influences on Tibetan from Chinese (other than lexical borrowing)?

With China asserting its influence on Tibet, including the standard Chinese language, what changes if any have taken place in the Tibetan language due to influence from the Chinese language? ...
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0answers
141 views

Different accent for different genders and age groups

Probably due to a desire to sound cute or otherwise I find teens (girls mostly) using an accent wherein they have to pout their lips a bit more in speaking while this may give them a more appealing ...
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4answers
10k views

Why did England not maintain French as a spoken language?

In many countries around the world, especially in Africa, the people natively speak both an indigenous language and French due to French colonization. The Norman conquest of England left us with many,...
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6answers
947 views

Does language improve over time, or does it just change?

Obviously none of the languages that existed 5000 years ago are still in use today. Rather, we use their descendants. Over time, the lexicon and grammar change and transform, subtly, so that the ...
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0answers
844 views

Evidence of/against deterioration in language proficiency

The opinion that young people nowadays can't properly write any more seems to have (had) currency across many cultures and times. For example, C. H. Ward, a 1917 Conneticut school teacher, is reported ...