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Questions tagged [language-change]

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

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1answer
87 views

How did the complexities of Arabic cardinals arise?

Generally the grammar related to the numbers in Arabic is considered to be the most complicated thing about the language. In fact, it is considered so complicated that many teachers argue that not ...
3
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2answers
111 views

How do you call a languages tendency to adopt foreign words rather than translate them to their language?

One difference between Mandarin Chinese and Japanese is that the former likes to translate foreign terms, while Japanese prefers to transcribe them to Japanese. E.g. Basketball: Mandarin Chinese: 篮球 (...
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3answers
359 views

Are there established linguistic theories which incorporate the concept of “lazy speech”?

Motivation So on EL&U, I pretty often encounter the claim, under a question of some usage or other, that certain usages are the consequence of "lazy speakers", who "would otherwise" use some (...
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73 views

In “internet Linguistics” theory, does David Crystal include sociolinguistic patterns as affecting language changes?

I'm going to discuss language changes among social sites. I'm using internet linguistics as a theoretical framework, but one of my questions related to social aspect-gender... internet linguistics ...
2
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1answer
112 views

Differences among Chinese, Tibetan, and Burmese

Is there any research or explanation for the (grammatical, typological) differences among Chinese, Tibetan, and Burmese? I am thinking of the fact that Chinese is classed as an Analytic, SVO language,...
2
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1answer
88 views

Are names of dishes more prone to name change due to power / language shift?

I am wondering whether names of dishes are generally more prone to change when a power or language shift occurs in a society? Particularly, I am thinking of the Egyptian cuisine and the current ...
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3answers
1k views

Why did the pronunciation of the rhotic phoneme /r/ change after the 2ndWW in public speech?

For example why did radio presenters roll the r on the BBC before the war and not after? Why did Brecht roll the r extensively? Why did Hitler roll the r extensively? My perspective is from the ...
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4answers
195 views

Which languages have absorbed the most vocabulary from Russian, and which languages have influenced its vocabulary?

I'm a student of formal linguistics and Russian language, my question has been surprisingly hard to google -- I've studied a little Ukrainian, and I've read that its structurally similar to Russian ...
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2answers
352 views

Julius Caesar original name spelling?

Was Julius Caesar originally spelled with and I before "J" was invented? Or was it spelled some other way? If so, how? I'm curious.
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2answers
61 views

Is there a formal term for when a word begins to be used in a broader sense than the original sense?

For example: "aggressive recruitment", "aggressive cleaning" or "more aggressive guidelines".
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0answers
74 views

Impact of European languages on AmE modality and grammatical moods

American English Use subjunctive more than British English and also they heavily use modal verb "would". Grammatical moods like subjunctive in many European languages like German and Spanish are ...
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2answers
90 views

Are modern chuch Latin and classical Latin different languages?

From a (probably now-deleted comment) elsewhere on SE: [Church Latin and Classical Latin] are more or less the same languages. Some new words were added and the pronunciation changed over the years,...
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1answer
135 views

What's the oldest living language out there? [closed]

This is going to require some explanation first. I've found that this question is frequently asked but rarely answered to a satisfying degree, with those who ask it often settling for answers like "uh,...
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0answers
58 views

Are languages converging in the modern era?

I know this question sounds vague, and there may not be much evidence yet, but I suspect it is falsifiable. The question is, in the modern era (post European imperialism, in particular post-mass-media ...
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3answers
304 views

Have we observed classes changing from open to closed, or vice versa?

Classes of words in languages tend to be either "open" (accepting new members readily) or "closed" (rejecting new members). This distinction is fairly easy to see: compare how readily English accepted ...
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0answers
46 views

Can learning a new language help with speech impairment?

I'm not a linguist, but i can see the connection between speech impairment and language learning. I'm only asking because I have a slight speech impairment myself (unable to pronounce guttural sounds ...
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0answers
22 views

Terminology for a phrase that changes meaning over time within a closed community

I am looking for the linguistic terminology for the phenomenon of semantic change in a discourse within a closed community. This closed community could be a couple, a company etc. For example, ...
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1answer
188 views

How are proto-languages dated?

This is something I've been thinking about lately. You look up any reconstructed proto-language, you'll probably find an estimate as to when it was spoken. But how can this number be determined? From ...
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1answer
429 views

Feminisation of men's language?

I was wondering whether there has been (generally) a feminisation of "men's language". Lakoff's claims in "women's and men's language" are almost half a century old and there have been contradictory ...
2
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1answer
128 views

Listing the historical change between two languages (phonology)

I have been asked to list the historical change from one language to another, using a list comparing words between the languages. I need to order the rules in chronological order, and knowledge of ...
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76 views

Is this what English/Mandarin Chinese or other 21st century dominant langauges would eventually do too? (details below)(yup that's opinion based) [closed]

Umbrians, for example, continued to make inscriptions in their language for centuries after Roman annexation. But eventually the power and status of Latin prevailed, particularly after all residents ...
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2answers
42 views

Metrics for word stability?

I'm trying to create a static list of words that can be used for encoding large numbers. The words are selected on a variety of factors and I would like to include a measure of the word's stability ...
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1answer
93 views

What is it called when a word is used based on an extant definition which no longer actually applies? e.g. “dial” with phones

It was difficult to phrase what I mean in an accurate and precise way here. This is similar to a fossil word, but fossil words are words which have fallen out of general use except where they are ...
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2answers
832 views

Morphology vs Etymology

Morphology is the component of grammar that builds words out of units of meaning(morphemes) where a morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of language. Etymology is the study of the origin of words ...
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1answer
152 views

Do children's mispronunciations influence the development of a language?

Having read this question about how alternative names develop for a given name (Bill for William, Peggy for Margaret etc.) It seemed reasonable to me to assume that at least some of these develop due ...
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1answer
109 views

Have modern languages slowed down or even stopped from language change?

The question points in the future and so I see the problem of having evidence but an educated guess or quotations of linguists would do, I guess. It is no secret any longer, though some nationalist ...
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1answer
153 views

How do contronyms (aka auto-antonyms) arise?

Contronyms are words that are their own antonyms. For example: Sanction can mean to penalize for or approve of. Off can mean activated(the alarm went off) or deactivated. (Additional examples) ...
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79 views

Is there a name for the process of triviliazation of a word's meaning?

What is the name for the process by which a word's meaning is trivialized or diminished in importance from its original meaning? For example, the standard English word throne means a toilet in English ...
4
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1answer
132 views

Difference between languages related a long time ago and unrelated ones

Would there be a theoretical way to distinguish between two related languages which diverged a long time ago, like tens of thousands years, and two totally unrelated languages, say, created ...
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4answers
168 views

Interesting exemplary cases where natural/political boundaries have led to language divergence

I'm looking for nice examples of the influence of natural or political boundaries to dialect divergence for introductory purposes. Generally through some limitations on the ability of people to ...
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2answers
170 views

Is the English “because (noun)” an instance of grammaticalization?

This structure is often used recently (I think since mid-2012) in a sarcastic or humorous way, or to indicate that the reasoning is not sound. a) “Ok, I really want to hang with her because ...
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2answers
147 views

How are Automatic Alternations the synchronic, and not diachronic, consequence of phonetically-motivated diachronic sound changes?

Source: p 214 Bottom - 215 Top. Understanding Morphology (2010 2 ed.) by Martin Haspelmath, Andrea D. Sims.   Automatic alternations are the [1.] synchronic [End of 1.] consequence of phonetically-...
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2answers
124 views

Have words for numbers changed since the introduction of public schools?

Obviously language changes, which is the reason why numbers have many different names in languages. Comparing the German "einundzwanzig" (one-and-twenty) with the English "twenty one" shows what I ...
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1answer
290 views

Do languages ever get new cases?

In my education, I've learned about a lot of languages whose case systems have atrophied, especially from PIE. Wikipedia had a reference to The Evolution of Case Systems for Marking Event Structure, ...
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0answers
73 views

Question about Michael Silverstein and Linguistics Ideology

I'm trying to understand Silverstein approach to ideological change. To my understanding he claims speakers are aware of the social and power relations reflected in the language usage and structure, ...
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4answers
325 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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2answers
165 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
473 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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2answers
159 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", "...
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3answers
562 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
181 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
184 views

Generalisation of Grimm's Law?

I am not a linguist, but I was reading the Wikipedia page on Grimm's law. As far as I understand, this explains a certain evolution of the sounds for in the Germanic languages. Which was obtained ...
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2answers
125 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 ...
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2answers
797 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
96 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
105 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
84 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
57 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
80 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
89 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 ...