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Re: Language Change

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 4, 2000, 6:01
At 11:24 pm -0500 3/1/00, Mia Soderquist wrote:
>Could someone explain some of the ways that grammar of a language >might change over time? I can see that it might gain or lose >tenses, affixes of various sorts, etc, but is word order likely >to change?
Most certainly. Latin was essentially a SVO language; the modern Romancelangs are basically SVO, tho with considerable variation. The traditional Celtic languages are VSO, but Breton (and I think modern Cornish, tho I'm not sure) has become a V2 language. The Germanic languages had a word order similar to that still used in modern German & Dutch, i.e. main clauses are V2 & subordinate clauses are verb last; English & the scandinavian languages have moved toward VSO orders in both clauses. In short, word order is IME quite likely to change. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================