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How Fast Do Languages Change? (Linguistics)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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English has no diacritics but it does have more digraphs than anybody else (which serve the same purpose). It may be relevant (I haven't thought about it) but diacritics have to be written above or below the line whereas digraphs don't. Latin has neither diacritics or digraphs but occasionally uses one letter to do the work of two eg J = J or Y. Modern Italian is the most phonetic language I know -- few diacritics and few digraphs.

I am saying all this but, again, I haven't thought about it much and even this may be wrong. Ciao, baby.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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I propose that the artificial language, Latin, was (as you claim) the original, phonetic, written language. However; the English were first to adopt the Latin system to write a natural language, introducing the diagraph to account for additional sounds not present in Latin.

Having invented the written demotic, and thus standardized the phonetics and symbol associations (though there were initially at least two competing systems), the English proceeded to write other languages. Unable to introduce additional disagraphs without upsetting the standardization for their own language, they introduced diacritics to account for alternate soundings in foreign languages.

They were still at it into the 19th and 20th centuries when they created dictionaries for native peoples in North America and throughout the world.

If this model is correct, all ancient languages with diacritics are forgeries.
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Hatty
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The presenter Melvyn Bragg just explained on BBC Radio 4 that Danes were living and trading in England, setting up commercial centres like York and Lincoln, not to mention a law code in a large swathe of the country, but "it was not until the twelfth century that the Danes melded with the Anglo-Saxons'.

Have I understood correctly? Rather than three or four generations like everybody else, it took this lot three or four centuries. And in all that time they seem to have managed not to change English one jot.
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Mick Harper
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Jot. That's Danish. Pronounced yot. Or maybe Cumbrian. We're going to have to give up on trying to point out that Viking and Danish are two different things. That boat has left the stable doors never to return.
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Mick Harper
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Great example of the academic scuffers creating imaginary worlds here https://twitter.com/DrSueOosthuizen/status/1115539643552997376
As Professor Oosthuizen puts it

Starkey Comics’ terrific graphic showing the history of 24 English words that all trace back, through Latin, French & Porto-Germanic, to the same original word spoken in the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language c6000 yrs ago

Comic indeed. Half of it is down to straightforward errors about the correct sequencing of languages, the other half is making up imaginary languages extrapolated from the wrong sequencing! What larks they do get up to. Only Guy Halsall manages not to get swept along with the tide of enthusiasm

Colour me sceptical.

He's not called the Real History Guy for nothing.
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