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Age of langs (was Tempus)

From:Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
Date: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 dialects. 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 Greek. Andreas _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Cian Ross <cian@...>