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Re: Language Change

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Thursday, May 13, 1999, 21:57
Michael Mouatt wrote:
> Do I create all the phonological rules for these descendant langs > completely from scratch and apply phonological change, or do I form them > from the parent lang?
You have to create them from the parent lang, and apply sound changes to that. You might have a particular "style" in mind for a descendant, so you can tailor the changes to fit. For instance, if you decide that you want some nasalized vowels, simply create a rule that nasal consonants create nasalized vowels, that is, VN --> V~ (where N = nasal consonant)
> I have been using the SPE system to map the parent lang and I've been > having difficulty trying to determine how subtle or obvious the changes > should be.
What does SPE mean? And what do you mean by "map the parent lang"? How "subtle or obvious", if I understand you correctly, depends on how much time has passed, and just how much change you want. Individual changes are usually pretty simple, such as "/t/ --> /tS/ before front vowels", the accumulation of a lot of these changes are what make the overall changes greater.
> Also, what other considerations should I have with language change with > respect to morphemes and words in general?
Well, some words tend to change in meaning over time, and ordering can change as well. For instance, adjectives may move from being before the noun to being after, or the other way around, postpositions may become prepositions, also morphemes may be lost, a word might die out, or an affix become unproductive (like the for- in "forgive", "forlorn", "forbid", etc.). A word might also evolve into an affix, like -man in English, or, recently, -person. AFMC, in a later, post-Classical stage, the verb labi' (give) evolved into an affix, -bbi' (thru -lbi'), Classical W. had a number of idioms with noun + labi' replacing certain verbs, for instance, wazaka' labi' (literally, "to give light") was used for "illuminate", this became the verb zaka'bbi' (wa- was a gender-prefix). -- "It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose father was hanged." - Irish proverb ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-name: NikTailor