Re: evolving languages
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 22:16|
Arthaey Angosii scripsit:
> >From my knowledge of English, Spanish, and (teensy amounts of) German, I
> agree that this is what I've experienced. By why is this so? If I know
> the theoretical reasons behind irregularity, perhaps I can do a better job
> of working it into Asha'ille. :)
Irregularity *arises* from sound-change, usually. Once "man" in English
had the regular plural "manni", but the "a" umlauted to "e" under the
influence of the following "i", which was then lost, leaving "man" : "men".
Irregularity is *maintained* primarily by frequency of use. Irregular forms
that are rarely used slip out of people's knowledge (unless maintained by
writing, oral poetry, etc.) and are replaced by regular equivalents.
English doesn't have "cow" : "ky" any more (though "kine", doubly irregular,
still has some poetic use); we have regularized it to "cow" : "cows".
John Cowan firstname.lastname@example.org
Humpty Dump Dublin squeaks through his norse
Humpty Dump Dublin hath a horrible vorse
But for all his kinks English / And his irismanx brogues
Humpty Dump Dublin's grandada of all rogues.