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Re: Language Change

Date:Friday, January 7, 2000, 6:43
> -----Original Message----- > From: Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU]On > Behalf Of Barry Garcia > Sent: Thursday, January 6, 2000 7:52 PM > To: CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU > Subject: Re: language change > > I read a web page on Maori, and they said that in some of the north > islands tribes, when a person took a name, that word would no longer be > used by the tribe. It said that the south island Maori had difficulty > understanding the north island Maori. Also, Kristian a long time ago > pointed out to me that in some cultures, when a person dies, whatever the > word for their name was is no longer used.
I read about this phenomenon in anthropology as well. In one tribe we were studying, children were given uncommonly-used words as names; one example was something like "hair on an anteater." Then when that person died, they couldn't use the old word for anteater hair, but that wasn't a big linguistic loss since it was uncommon to begin with.
> Hmmm, I wonder how the Philippines has so many different languages and > dialects? Often, many tirbes are isolated from one another. So, do > dialects for quicker in isolation (and then these become languages)?
From what I've read, yes, dialect differentiation tends to happen when the groups become isolated somehow. Thus the great difference between Romance languages such as Romanian and Dalmatian on the one hand and Spanish and French on the other. On the subject of unmarked unnumbered nouns, Nik said:
> Depends. Is the unmarked literally unmarked, in the sense that there is > no affix for it? If so, it is quite probable. But, having a marked > "unnumbered" number seems quite unlikely to begin with, and unlikely to > be retained.
Yes, the "unnumbered number" :) would be morphologically unmarked. Back to Barry:
> It's worth the risk of burning, to have a second chance...
What's this from? Eric Christopherson