[b-hebrew] BO and BO)

JAMES CHRISTIAN READ JCR128 at student.anglia.ac.uk
Mon Aug 20 09:36:35 EDT 2007

KR: The main problem with this theory is probably that there is no evidence that
"primitive" languages did indeed work this way.  Going back in most
languages I know of just leads to equally complex languages.  So where do we
find these primitive languages against which to test the theory.

JCR: Yep! In fact, my experience has shown that the 
further back we go we find more complex languages:


Old English => English (loss of declensions)
Latin => Italian (loss of declensions)
Latin => Spanish (loss of declensions)
Latin => French (loss of declensions)
Germanic => English (loss of conjugations)
Florentine => Italian (losing the subjunctive)

The pattern of language evolution in modern languages 
seems to be the loss of complex grammar in favour for 
simpler forms of expression with equal capabilities.

For ideas of 'primitive' languages, see the article 
linked to in the original post. It's an interesting 
story for anybody with an interest in linguistics. 

Stephen Pinker's book the language instinct also refers
to work on 'proto-world', a scholarly attempt to build 
up a vocabulary of words common to all the most ancient 
language reconstructions. With no great surprises the 
vocabulary is typically what you would expect a hunter 
gatherer to need to say on a daily basis.

James Christian Read
BSc Computer Science (thesis: concept driven machine translation using the Aleppo codex)

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