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Re: Hybrid language?

From:Tom Pullman <tom@...>
Date:Sunday, May 27, 2001, 9:18
--- Danny Wier <dawier@...>
> wrote: >Is the concept of a "hybrid" language a plausible one, even the >idea of a language belonging to two families? > >(English is a hybrid of Germanic and Romance, so I guess it's possible on that >level.)
Well... English is a Germanic language with large amounts of vocabulary borrowed from Romance. I wouldn't really call it a hybrid - its structure is rather different from that of Romance languages. The only languages I would call hybrids are creoles. For the benefit of those who don't know about this, I'll explain about pidgins and creoles. When adult speakers of different languages are brought into contact and need to communicate, what they usually do if they don't have a common language is learn a few words of the other language and then just shove them together to convey a rough meaning: "Food me". "Go them city". That sort of thing is a pidgin. Being adults, their brains aren't wired up to learn languages any more, certainly not by osmosis. But if they have children, the situation changes. The children are programmed biologically to learn whatever language they're surrounded by. This includes picking up grammar; but there's not much grammar in a pidgin, so they pick up grammar from the real languages that are spoken at home. Different children speak different languages at home, so bits of grammar from different languages creep in. In this way they create a new, complete language, a creole, capable of expressing anything any other language can express. Again, I'm open to correction on the details but that's broadly it. == Tom Pullman "Dochuala as borb nad légha." _____________________________________________________________ Visit to get a Web site with a personalized domain and Web-based email


Danny Wier <dawier@...>