Questions tagged [evolution]

Development of languages, language families, etc, through time with influences by other languages or pre-existing ones.

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2answers
784 views

Are "txt-speak" and "emoticons" examples of normal language evolution?

"txt-speak" appeared because of the need to fit a communication into 160 characters. "Emoticons" appeared due to the need to convey an emotional context with your message so that it is read correctly ...
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4answers
3k views

Why do Polish and Belarusian have an atypical greeting if compared to other Slavic languages?

While chatting with a polish penpal, I've discovered that in Polish the expression for "good morning/good day/hello/good afternoon" varies if compared to the other Slavic languages; later I saw that ...
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5answers
475 views

What evolution framework best describes the change between languages over time?

Language change and the evolution of languages can be seen as an evolutionary process. Human brains form the environment that constrains language. Language acquisition provides the replication, ...
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2answers
2k views

Language Change over Distance

I'm building a world where I'm tracking the languages and people throughout time. So I'm starting from a single point with a single language and then expanding that out as time progresses. My basic ...
10
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4answers
9k views

Why there are no grammatical cases in the French language?

As far as I know, the French language is considered as a Romance language, which is derived, in its turn, from the Latin language. The last one has a rich grammatical cases system. I am interested to ...
8
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3answers
315 views

Can two close languages be merged?

For example: Norwegian and Danish are very close. If for some reason, Norwegian and Danish people live together in the same place, after a certain time, they'll speak the same language, will they? ...
8
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1answer
434 views

Why do languages retain or re-create complexity?

It seems to me (but I may be wrong), that languages tend to evolve towards simplification. Some examples I can think of: loss of declinations in Romance languages or in English, loss of 2nd person ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Do atonal languages have a tonal ancestor?

One of the distinctions among languages is the tonal/atonal distinction. Dediu & Ladd (2007) suggest that this split between tonal and atonal languages is related to a recent mutation in the ASPM ...
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2answers
649 views

What is the origin of 't-' and 's-' words for second and third person possesive adjectives?

Many languages associate the t sound with the second person and the s with the third. For example Spanish (tu/tuyo, su/suyo), French (tu,ton/ta/tes,son/sa/ses), Italian (tu,tuo/tua/tuoi,suo/sua/suoi) ...
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5answers
1k views

At what point does a language become its descendant?

With the possible exceptions of constructed languages, languages seem to evolve. As a real-world example, we note that Latin has evolved into Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, etc. What ...
12
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2answers
560 views

Is there any case of a "convergent language family"?

As far as I know, language families originate from a process of divergent, tree-like evolution. All the languages within a family or subfamily can be traced back to the same proto-language, which was ...
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6answers
3k views

Examples of Borrowing Languages

In the Wikipedia page History of the English language it is mentioned that English is a "borrowing language", with the implication that there are many loan words in English. What other languages may ...
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1answer
394 views

How do linguists tell areal features and genetic relations apart?

Languages belonging to the same family obviously share many features, most of which were inherited from their common ancestor. But, considering that languages of the same family also are usually ...
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1answer
464 views

Impact of widespread literacy and global communication on language evolution

We live in a world that is incredibly different to the one that was here 200 years ago. Literacy, in the developed world at least, is no longer an elite privilege, but rather almost taken for granted. ...
4
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1answer
651 views

How did the letter "v" come to represent the voiced labio dental fricative?

When I learned Latin we were taught classical pronunciation. When it came to the letter "v" we were taught to pronounce it as /w/. It was also explained that many people (my parents, for example) had ...
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1answer
250 views

Was there an evolution of the Greek alphabet in the Middle East?

I recently visited Jordan and noticed that many mosaic are commented with included text. The text seems mostly ancient Greek alphabet, but it also contains non Greek characters such as C, obviously ...
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1answer
128 views

Why is it thought that definite articles develop from deictic markers, and not the other way around?

I read here that "it is cross-linguistically common for definite articles to develop from deictic markers"; "deictic" referring to words such as "I" or "here" whose meaning is dependent on context. ...
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1answer
75 views

What do you call a visual language based on color frequency?

I was thinking about this question and answer about how cephalopods might develop a language, in this case a visual one. How would linguistics term a language that is communicated visually as a ...