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Re: Language Change

Date:Thursday, January 6, 2000, 21:42
Speaking of language change, I too have some questions about it.

1) Are there any trends or statistical norms with respect to how long it
takes certain aspects of language to change (morphology, syntax, phonology,
etc.)? My plan for Dhak is to start with one language that branches out into
daughter languages, and perhaps even they will branch out. I'm wondering
what time spans would be realistic for different kinds of changes. (Granted,
Dhak is spoken on another planet, but I want to make the years there to be
pretty close to the length of Earth years. However, the speakers tend to
live longer than humans, so perhaps language change would be slower than it
is on Earth?)

2) I want to start with at least three numbers: unmarked/unnumbered,
singular, and plural. Unmarked number can refer to either singular or
plural, but is usually used when the number doesn't really matter. Would it
make sense for the old singular number to be replaced by the unmarked
number, which would then become singular? The unmarked number will probably
be the most common in speech in the parent language.

3) Would it make sense for stative verbs to evolve into a perfect aspect,
and eventive verbs into imperfect? (Stative meaning verbs which describe a
pretty much unchanging state, including lots of what English would call
adjectives; eventive meaning verbs which take place at a certain time and
describe an event)

Eric Christopherson