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Re: Language Change

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 5, 2000, 15:06
Patrick Dunn wrote:

> I was unaware that languages could gain cases; I was always under the > impression that languages tended to simplify, but now I see that "simple" > is subjective, isn't it? Hmm.
Sure. The Finno-Ugric langs, with their 12-20 cases, descend from languages with postpositions and far fewer cases. Sometimes the line between a case marker and a pre/postposition is hard to draw.
> This is, as I said, from memory and probably entirely wrong, but it > illustrates the idea. Take a look at Caedmon's hymn for another excessive > example, in which names for God are heaped one on the other until you > begin to dispair of ever seeing a verb again. :)
"A verb, Senator, we need a verb!" -- A reporter in _Doonesbury_ -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)