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THEORY: Rate of language change

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, July 11, 2002, 2:50
Thanks to everyone who sent me kind words on the passing of my
grandfather -- it is greatly appreciated.

Quoting Abrigon Gusiq <abrigon@...>:

> I remember reading years ago, that cause of our modern written language, > that the language is less likely to change as fast as it once did, or > not change at all. But anyone find anything to the contrary? Seems that > lingos change at much the same rate as it does without writting/TV and > like?
There has been no strong evidence to believe that the rate of language change is slowing down due to the advent of modern devices like TV or radio, but there is positive evidence to suggest that language change is still occurring despite these external changes. William Labov's website describes in some detail the phonological chain shifts in the vowel systems of different American dialects, showing that different regions of the country are shifting in the *opposite* directions. (The very notion of a universal rate of language change is dubious in its own right, as some languages seem to change very quickly -- creoles, for example -- while others, such as Icelandic, change more slowly.) ===================================================================== Thomas Wier "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n / Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..." University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought / 1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn" Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers