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How Fast Do Languages Change? (Linguistics)
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Edwin



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I had a similar discussion on the Iron Age forum kelticos.org and did actually get them to accept that there might have been pockets of English/some sort of Frisian speakers before the AS along the East coast.

Now really it all depends on the size of the " pockets" because isn't this the argument for Atlantic speaking "Celts"? Somewhere the two languages have to have met and we are now only talking of degree.

Trad scholars would have the meeting out in the sea or on the other side of the German Ocean. They accept littoral and some way inland as a meeting points but eventually the light will dawn and the parallel movements of "Celtic" and "English" speakers will be seen as truly parallel, both meeting up in Britain.

One of the kelticos people did raise the closeness of some words written as AS to English but for me this could simply show the influence of English on the AS.
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Mick Harper
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Sanskrit
Hungarian
Pirahã
American Sign Language
Tzotzil
Chambri
Worrorran
Farsi

This is a list of languages that changed substantially in a short time according to a(n apparently) professional linguist on the forum. I wonder if he'll win my win-a-million offer?

What is interesting of course is that all the people concerned believe that all the languages they are most familiar with allegedly underwent this rapid change ie English, French, Spanish etc yet when asked for exemplars always go for the very strange. Or at least ones that nobody present will be able to contradict.
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Mick Harper
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I looked up Hungarian just to on the safe side. No change except for an influx of Turkish when (natch) it was unwritten. Persian looks as though it had an alphabetised form (ie as Italian has Latin) but otherwise developed entirely normally. Sanskrit of course is the 'Latin' version of Hindi/Urdu so presumably never changed at all. Though of course people are always telling us that Latin changed radically! Amo, amas, amat, Caesar!
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Mick Harper
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One of the posters on Linguistics forum loves us.

I urge you to have a look over there, I'm not sure if it's a troll forum where you have to pretend not to recognise a photo of Karl Popper, or if they are serious, or both, but it really is a hoot.

I'm not sure what the Popper reference is all about but it speaks volumes of the writer that he thinks knowing what the old boy looks like is an intellectual marker. I certainly wouldn't know him if I bumped into him in the pub. Would anybody else?
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Mick Harper
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Ah, at last! Our very own Grrh! has been accused of being a troll and threatened with an arbitrary end to the thread. This happens to me on a regular basis. Of course all the opposition has to do is not to rise to the bait just once and the "troll" is left high and dry but, no, on and on it goes.

The difference between a troll and an AE-ist is entirely in the eyes of the beholder.
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Mick Harper
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Coupla Nowegian academics have at last worked out that English doesn't come from Anglo-Saxon.

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2012/11/27/english-is-a-scandinavian-language/

But of course they cannot shake off the ruling paradigm either so they have moved the origins of English even further forward not back:

Faarlund and Edmonds also contend that Old English and modern English are two very different languages. 'We think Old English simply died out,' Faarlund told Apollon. 'Instead, the Nordic language survived, strongly influenced by Old English.'

Their model requires Old Norse to change into Modern English in even quicker time than orthodoxy assumes re Anglo-Saxon into English. The fact that the researchers are themselves (as it were) Old Norse speakers has, of course, nothing to do with their pet assumption.

Note also that their model requires Old Norse to hoover up gynormous amounts of Anglo-Saxon to produce English whereas the Anglo-Saxonists required Anglo-Saxon to hoover up gynormous quantities of Norman French to produce English. The new Norse school seems to be keeping quiet about the French bits. Perhaps even they realise that you can't have too much hoovering before the carpet becomes just too threadbare.

But, as we old AE hands keep insisting, their research is still highly valuable. For the first time we have academic linguists saying that English doesn't come from Anglo-Saxon. That's a giant step for mankind. And THOBR.
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Mick Harper
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Another triumph for the system. I am a troll once again (fifth, sixth time?):

But the fact is that what you pretend to believe [that English doesn't come from Anglo-Saxon] is so exquisitely silly (and so jaw-droppingly ignorant) that the simplest explanation is that you don't believe it: that you are, in fact, a troll.
[url]https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare/9SrI_3RU00I[/url]

The site, in which I am occasionally cited and discussed at some length -- though not normally by me -- is peopled by Shakespearean experts of exquisite erudition but that often teeters into our territory eg Don Quixote was an English forgery etc. Worth a perusal.
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Boreades


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Mick Harper wrote:
Another triumph for the system. I am a troll once again (fifth, sixth time?):

But the fact is that what you pretend to believe [that English doesn't come from Anglo-Saxon] is so exquisitely silly (and so jaw-droppingly ignorant) that the simplest explanation is that you don't believe it: that you are, in fact, a troll.
[url]https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare/9SrI_3RU00I[/url]

The site, in which I am occasionally cited and discussed at some length -- though not normally by me -- is peopled by Shakespearean experts of exquisite erudition but that often teeters into our territory eg Don Quixote was an English forgery etc. Worth a perusal.


Demonising the outsider seems to be an occupational hazard.

I have had similar experiences after politely asking for evidence from some evangelistic believers in Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming. The best I could get were appeals to the authority of the BBC and the Met Office.

I wonder what that reactionary /humanities.lit.authors.shakespeare/ group makes of the Bacon/Rosicrucian/Shakespeare idea?
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Ishmael


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Ishmael wrote:
The *perfect* material for printing if your "stamp" is a curved clay tablet


Does this ancient "pay stub" offer evidence in favour of my theory that "ancient" stone and clay tablets were used for printing?

If this is a "pay stub" then one imagines hundreds would be handed out at any one time and then, presumably, redeemed for the ration indicated. Does it really make sense to imagine the painstaking manufacture of hundreds or even thousands of such pay stubs?

What if instead the clay tablet is somehow used to print out thousands of copies? Doesn't that make much more sense when every single pay stub would be identical for a given caste of workers?
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Boreades


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How to get up a Frenchman's nose : French was invented in England.

David Howlett, the author of "The English origins of Old French literature"

Dramatic differences between Latin texts written before and after the settlement of the Normans in England imply that the conquerors inherited from the conquered a tradition of Anglo-Latin composition. They also derived from a 500-year-old tradition of Old English literature the idea and the formal, generic, and thematic models of Old French literature. The earliest examples of nearly every genre of Old French verse and prose were composed in the Anglo-Norman dialect or written by continental authors working in England or preserved in English manuscripts. These, with the Insular heroes and stories of Brendan, Havelock, Horn, Arthur and Tristan, suggest that for the first century of its existence most French literature was English in origin and execution.


http://www.fourcourtspress.ie/books/archives/the-english-origins-of-old-french-literature/

In "Language Made Visible: The Invention of French in England After the Norman Conquest" by David Georgi,

The English origins of French literature remain something of an open secret, backed by impressive evidence, but known only to a relatively small audience. In 1992, Ian Short lamented that "standard histories of medieval French literature persist in ignoring the fact that French Literature begins, to all intents and purposes, in 12th century Anglo-Norman England". Many years later, this fact is still not universally recognised, even among Anglo-Norman specialists. A recent book devoted entirely to post-conquest England remarks "in the twelfth century England seems to have been a key region for the production of French writing, in some ways ahead of French-speaking areas on the continent." As late as 2005, the team of eminent scholars who prepared the chapter on "Vernacular Literary Consciousness" in the Middle Ages volume of the Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, called the development of French literature in England "curiously precocious" and don't seem to know what to make of it.
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Mick Harper
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A hilarious (to thems that know) article in this month's History Today. Read as much as you can before the stitches start coming out.

http://www.historytoday.com/katherine-mcdonald/latin-lesson
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Mick Harper
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It looks as though the academics are finally nosing around in the right areas. Have a look a this

https://twitter.com/annapjudson/status/1004014789864148992
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Mick Harper
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An elegant demonstration of how the Place Name Industry operates

Peter Sokolowski: Place-name etymology hiding in plain sight: Bordeaux ("Next to water")

Kate Wiles (for it is she): OMG

Peter Sokolowski: I know.
[You know nothing, Pete, here comes an expert...]

Antoine: That would be neat, but that's not actually the case! Bordeaux is actually derived from the Aquitanian 'Burdigala', of disputed etymology.
[Not sure what language Aquitanian is but it looks to be Latin(ish). Perhaps he means that Bordeaux was called Burdigala in Roman Aquitania though as we point out in Forgeries, Latin versions of demotic place names are highly arbitrary. Not sure what 'disputed etymology' signifies but presumably it means Antoine ought not to be too gung-ho. Which would be highly unusual among place-name theorists.]

Kate Wiles: Oh, damnit! But it's so perfect.
[Our Kate often betrays a tendency to common sense but always returns to orthodoxy in the end.]

Antoine: I know! Apparently the name could mean something along the lines of "muddy cove", which is less nice but an accurate description of the nearby Gironde estuary.
[Not entirely clear who is responsible for the 'apparently'.]

Antoine: I'm guessing that the proximity with the water might have played a role in the adoption of 'Bordeaux' in French, as opposed to the occitan 'Bordelh'.
[Or indeed the Aquitanian Burdigala. But I'm guessing.]

Peter Sokolowski:There has to be the gravitational pull of folk etymology here.
[A stunning phrase. Unless Bordeaux was created by the Romans de novo and named Burdigala, there can only be 'folk etymology', can't there?]

Antoine:What's interesting is that apparently the change to 'Bordeaux' might have also been pushed by the fact that 'bordeaux' was the original plural of the French 'bordel', meaning a small house (and now meaning brothel of course). Other places have a similar name, like Bourdeaux.

Well, bordel(h) was Occitan a minute ago 'as opposed to the French' but now we learn it is also French and bordeaux means a collection of small houses. The mind boggles to wonder what on earth a collection of small houses in the French countryside could possibly signify but whatever it was there are other places with similar names! No wait, I was forgetting, we've already been told what the name means: 'a muddy cove'.
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Mick Harper
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The Story of an Ancient Language (Part One)

In 1900 AD an anthropologist wandered into the Amazonian rain forest and discovered the Tik-Tok people, a tribe of Amerindians that, as far as he could tell, had had no contact with European civilisation. As is the way with anthropologists and First Contact, he fell somewhat in love with them. He also saw an opportunity for academic advancement and, following a grant application and its enthusiastic endorsement, he spent some years living among them.

He naturally learned their language and, as per his grant application, he compiled a dictionary of Tiktokian. words -- which of course meant rendering the sounds they made into the twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet plus a few conventions. He even taught a few of the younger Tiktokians to read and write in Tiktokian and they gleefully composed letters to one another, even inscribed words on rocks. Of a youthful nature since nobody else knew what they meant.

Alas the anthropologist died of a tropical disease (so it was said, the body was never found) but not before his Dictionary and some of the papers had been stored in the basement archives of the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
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Mick Harper
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I don't think there can be twenty-six letters in the Portuguese Latin alphabet, can someone check?
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