Questions tagged [typological-cycle]

The suggestion that the typology of languages naturally evolves from isolating through agglutinative to inflectional, then back to isolating.

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Is there any solid evidence for the agglutinative->fusional->analytic->agglutinative roundabout?

I've heard it mentioned that languages tend to evolve in a kind of merry-go-round pattern where a language that's agglutinative slowly turns fusional, that fusional language's inflections slowly break ...
13 votes
4 answers
706 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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6 votes
2 answers
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What are some examples of well-known agglutinatve languages moving toward inflecting morphology?

We've had questions about inflected languages moving towards analytic morphology and about isolating languages moving to agglutinating morphology but we haven't yet investigated the third case. In ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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What is the evidence of the typological cycle theory?

There is a theory that languages move from one morphological typology (isolating, inflected, agglutinating) to the next in a usual, predictable cycle. What evidence is proposed to support this ...
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a term for the theory that languages move from one morphological typology to the next in a fixed cycle?

There is a well known theory, widely accepted that as languages evolve their morphological typology changes through the same usual steps. The major steps are I think isolating or analytic, inflected, ...
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