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Re: Language Evolution
Juan Parra says:
Knowing three languages, I wonder why the languages
have kept static for so many years, centuries regarding to
grammar stuctures and communication. Languages have
suffered dramatic changes in phonetics and pronunciation,
however their structures are falling behind the communication
needs of this era.
This seems to me a remarkable claim - or rather, a series of
As examples of significant recent change, I could adduce
1) The enormous spread of attributive noun modifiers in
English (for example 'attributive noun modifier', where 'noun'
is a noun function as an attributive modifier). I think this
practice probably started in headlinese, but spread to
both official and scientific writing, and is now widespread.
2) The gradual spread of familiar (du) 2nd person forms in
the Scandinavian langages over the last 30 years.
3) The disappearance (not completely) of the objective
form 'whom' in most registers of English
4) The reanalysis in popular English speech of 'would
have' (as in 'I would have done it') as 'would of'.
5) The relegation of 'don't' (as 3rd person singular) from
acceptable to sub-standard in the last century.
How 'structural' you regard these I am not sure, but they are
not just 'phonetics and pronunciation'. If you read Shakespeare,
the changes of phonetics are not of course obvious without
study: the differences in vocabulary are; but also there are
some differences in grammar.
Indeed, there are two converse tendencies at work in the
modern world: on the one hand rapid communications and the
incessant pursuit of novelty bring innovation at a remarkable
rate; on the other hand, the unprecedented weight of written
text can act as a brake on language change.
Despite attacking your basic assumption, I am interested to
hear more about your ideas - I have no conception what you
have in mind when you refer to 'changing the structure
of language to fit modern communication.'
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ps. I am puzzled why you posted your question to Lojban list.