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Let's say we have a Country 'A' that spoke a Language 'A'. In Language 'A' (LA) they had the word "Shamish" (IPA: /ʃamɪʃ/)

A Language 'X' (LX) is gaining ground in Country 'A' and they have the same word with the same meaning but with one difference. The ending "sh" is replaced by an "s" ==> "Shamish" --> "Shamis" (IPA: /ʃamɪs/)

Country 'A' now uses "Shamis" in LA but how is this "new" word classified ?!

Let's assume that these two "similar" words are independent from each other and their formation was merely out of luck.

-Could it be considered that:

  • it might be a natural change ?
  • a replacement from LX, therefore "Shamis" in LA is now a borrowed word
  • an influence from LX's inflection (using "s" instead of "sh") so "Shamis" in LA is still an LA term but with LX features
  • ...
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    Are you saying two physically close languages have two words that are identical in meaning, and almost identical in shape, and that's a coincidence? How likely is this, and how can you generalize from a coincidence?
    – jlawler
    Nov 22 '20 at 3:22
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    If it’s a natural change, you’d expect to find other examples that fit the same pattern (e.g., final -ish > -is in general). Since our source material here is just one word, we have no way of telling whether this is the case. It could be either of the three options you list, then. Nov 22 '20 at 9:22
  • @jlawler I agree, but it's hypothetical ! I would be interested to know how things would be if they were related as well ! Nov 22 '20 at 17:25
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Yes ofc, but even if other words followed this same pattern, we could not disclose the possibility of being an influence from LX ! (on a greater number of words, i guess a rough estimation would be made depending on the number of newly introduced words...) Nov 22 '20 at 17:32
  • @PrimataLógico No, you could never discount influence from language X. But if -ish > -is was a general sound law within the language itself, you wouldn’t have to assume influence either. Nov 22 '20 at 17:33

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