19

This is a difficult question. Greek is perceived as one language despite the fact that Classical Greek is no longer intelligible for a native speaker of Modern Greek without exposure to the classical language. For the Romance language, the split into several different descendants (Italian, Provençal, French, Spanish ...) surely helped to form different ...


12

These are all normal Greek characters. C is a form of sigma: it's called lunate sigma, and is a variant that's sometimes used in printed texts these days too. Lunate sigma is a Hellenistic development which occurred in handwritten Greek (not specific to mosaics) for speed of writing. (It's also the origin of the Cyrillic C for [s].) In ΔIOCΠωΛIC the omega ...


11

The similarity is due to a common pathway of grammaticalistion. The have + past participle form comes from a resultative construction (Bybee, Perkins and Pagliuca, 1994), which commonly leads to the perfect. Note that Bybee et al. do not use the term resultative in the usual complex-predicate sense, but use it to mean sentences like 'The door is opened', ...


10

Superiority/inferiority is by definition arbitrary, at least in the realm of linguistics. Any language is ultimately able to convey any thought, and that's all that really matters. I can't really imagine being able to objectively judge ease-of-communication on individual points - there are so many subjective decisions that would have to go into setting up a ...


10

Not in only in jargons, but in most languages in general there are more nouns, verbs and adjectives than conjunctions and prepositions. The former are called open word classes and the latter closed class. Open word classes readily admit new members, but closed word classes don't give in so easily - although closed is a bit of an exaggeration, over time they ...


10

It's right if other people who speak your dialect (other people in your speech community) also say the same thing systematically. In the Japanese case, it's clear that the construction is correct in his dialect, since he's not alone in using that construction. What's wrong when it comes to spoken language is usually when you make mistakes likes slip of the ...


9

I'm sorry that I can't upvote your comment yet, but I did just join the site in order to reply. While you might not find it in any formal prescriptive English grammar book as yet, there's plenty of evidence that emoticons are functioning in exactly the same way that canonical, traditional punctuation does: namely, they're pragmatic or discourse marks. ...


9

There may be a real-world example on Quora from Don Grushkin, Professor of Deaf Studies (Ph.D. in Language, Reading and Culture). I've added the bold. I'm not sure anybody's ever conducted any research on rate of linguistic drift. As Joachim Pense notes, languages can be created in one or two generations. But you're talking about linguistic change from one ...


9

To the excellent answer by @WavesWashSands I'll only add that some Latin verbs employed a perfective construction with the verb esse "to be" and a participle, which at some point could have motivated the appearance of the other well-known pattern for the compound perfect as found in Italian and French, for example: Siamo arrivati. "We have arrived." (lit. "...


8

The question does not accurately summarize the relevant sound changes. Latin short /u/ was not fronted to /y/. Only Latin long /uː/, as in dūrus /duːrus/, regularly developed to /y/ in French. (Of course, in learned words such as dubitatif, Latin U corresponds to /y/ regardless of its original length, but this does not represent a regular phonetic ...


8

Neuter in Latin differed from Masculine only for Nominative and Accusative cases. When case-endings began to collapse in early Proto-Romance, Neuter singular was reassigned to masculine and some Neuter plural ending in -a became feminine singular.


8

I've read that even in Latin, we see some variability in the declension of words as neuter or masculine. Sometimes the use of the masculine where neuter would be expected is attributed to "personification". So the fall of the neuter seems to have been a long and at least somewhat gradual process. I will update this post if I find more detailed ...


8

For English in particular, we have older stages of the language attested: Shakespeare, Chaucer, whoever wrote Beowulf. And we can see that in Beowulf "the" had the force of a demonstrative, but through Chaucer and Shakespeare to the modern day it lost that force. In general, though, the process of a common word losing its semantic force and turning into a ...


7

Proto-Semitic *ϑ becomes /ϑ/ in (classical) Arabic, /t/ in Aramaic and some Arabic dialects, /ʃ/ in Hebrew, /s/ in Amharic, /f/ in some Arabic dialects. Proto-Semitic *δ becomes /δ/ in (classical) Arabic, /d/ in Aramaic and some Arabic dialects, /z/ in Hebrew, Amharic and Akkadian, etc. Old Persian /ϑ/ becomes /h/ in Middle and New Persian. Proto-Iranian *...


7

The problem with Deutscher’s theory is that it posits the exact opposite of what we can observe in real languages across time. If we look at the long-term development from Latin to Romance; from Sanskrit and Old Iranian to modern Indo-Aryan and Iranian; from Ancient to Modern Greek; from Old Aramaic to Modern Aramaic; from Classical Arabic to modern Arabic ...


7

The multidisciplinary study of how climate and other environmental factors can be of influence to linguistic features in general and to phonetics in particular is something very young and results are extremely scarce and actually yet to be proven as solid claims. There are no such studies specifically about Russian, at least such I'm aware of. I'm aware ...


6

I do not believe that “borrowing languages” is a meaningful concept in linguistics. All languages have borrowed from other languages, though obviously not all to the same degree. Just to stay with your question, French has borrowed lots of words from mediaeval and scholastic Latin (as opposed to the “genuine” French words derived organically from Vulgar ...


6

This is essentially the lexical protolanguage hypothesis of language evolution, favored by Derek Bickerton, Ray Jackendoff, and others. You can find a nice discussion of this in Tecumseh Fitch's 2010 book The Evolution of Language.


6

Phonological change is not composed solely of mergers and losses. You can have chain shifts, where the net number of phonemes stays more or less the same. It is also possible that the number of phonemes increases, in phonemic splits and additions. Phonemic additions are usually via contact with another language. A good example in English is the phoneme /ʒ/,...


6

The phoneme /w/ in Latin underwent a phonetic change around the second half of the 1st century AD, though this was a low prestige sound change, becoming pronounced [β] and later [v]. Hence the letter is usually pronounced [v] because that it how it was pronounced in later Latin. This is similar to the situation with the fricative pronunciation of Greek <...


6

There is a trend for languages, in general, to lose inflection of a certain type, and Indo-European languages manifest that trend. Particular facts of English have encouraged that development, and different facts of Indic or Greek encouraged similar developments. The main fact about Indo-European morphology (or, late versions if its morphology) that presages ...


6

I think it is important to look at the general tendency in which the language is evolving. If a language is loosing some distinctions, then there will be an important trend of speaking/writing without the distictions that are going archaic. There will be a counter-trend to keep them. And among such counter-trend, we will find hypercorrections, in which ...


6

Oftentimes we have documents that talk about how things were pronounced, especially when they criticize people for how they talk (the Romans were rather famous for that). Texts like poems are also very helpful for knowing where words would have similar pronunciations or stresses, and can even help demonstrate sound evolutions despite spelling being the same....


5

Malay and Indonesian (which are very similar to each other) are simple in all the respects you mentioned. Alphabet: Latin alphabet without any diacritics. Pronunciation: Shallow orthography, which means that there is a clear mapping between the letters and the pronunciation. No tones. Grammar: no obligatory marking of numbers or tenses. Indonesian is used ...


5

The second person singular pronoun in PIE was tua̯om (or tue̯om). This explains why many languages have t- in the first position in second-person pronoun. There was no third-person personal pronoun in PIE. In such cases one could use either demonstrative (like "that") or reflexive (like "themself"). The reflexive pronoun su̯em in PIE was one for all ...


5

First, there is no such category as a 'borrowing language' equivalent to 'agglutinating language'. Second, whatever variation there is among languages is cultural rather than linguistic. Although individual speakers may perceive this more viscerally (and report it as such). But it's probably that there is not even a single scale along which you could ...


5

The debate ended in 2005. Shortly after this, Chomsky (2005/2008 (written in 2005, and circulated, published in 2008) wrote On Phases which did not acknowledge anything from his previous papers co-written by Hauser and Fitch. In Chomsky (2005/2008) he proposes this (p. 5 in the 2005 version, and I'd assume the 5th page of the 2008 version): Suppose ...


5

It has to do mostly with sound change. French underwent two principal sound changes that effectively prevented it from keeping the case system from Latin. 1) Elision of any post-accentual vowels: French, like other romance languages kept the accent on words on the same syllable as they were in Latin, however the nature of the accent in French changed ...


5

The primary reason is because there were many Germanic tribes with which the other nations came into contact with directly. This may actually be because of the position in Central Europe - i.e. the contact happened on all sides so on each side the peoples devise their own name instead of adopting a loanword from their neighbours from which they heard about ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible