[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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