Age of langs (was Tempus)
|Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
|Thursday, March 8, 2001, 20:45
Nik Taylor wrote:
>And actually, wouldn't Italian be about 2,000 years older than Latin?
How could that be, when Italian is descended from Latin? Or are you refering
to Italic? Obviously Proto-Italic (if there ever was a united Proto-Italic
lang) must be older than Latin since Latin is descended from it.
To get back to the earlier question, whether it's possible to say that one
natlang is older than another, I think the answer is yes, under certain
conditions. Obviously a language must be younger than its ancestors and
older than its daughter langs. When speaking of languages that are not
linearly related to each other it get tricker, but I'd say it's correct to
say that, say, Akkadian is older than, say, English. Afterall, Akkadian was
a dead language before English had separated from continental Germanic
But when dealing with contemporary languages, there's little meaning saying
that one is older than another. Sure, the attested period of Greek stretches
much farther into history than does English's, but that hardly makes modern
Greek any older than modern English. Attic Greek may be older than medieval
English, but by the same token Elizabethan English is older than modern
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