Analytic languages and their function. (2)

A. Katz amnfn at
Fri May 26 21:41:09 UTC 2006

Steve Long wrote:

>Well, I did not intend "mature" to mean better or more capable of
>"expressing more-nuanced meanings."
>My point was that, if inflection gets in the way of communication, then a
>less inflected language would be one obvious solution.  At least some
>scholars think this kind of explanation can account for the loss of
>inflection in English.

While it is clear from what you've written that you did not intend a value
judgment on communicative effectiveness of a language by labeling its
typology "mature",  exactly what you did mean still remains somewhat

You seem to be using "mature" in the way biologists would label an animal
in its prime as "mature": adult, no longer in its infancy and not yet in
its dotage. Is that what you intended?

It is true that as we watch synthetic languages age, they tend to lose
inflection. It is also true that as we watch a pidgin mature into a
creole, it tends to become more synthetic. But the "Grand Cycle"
is potentially endless, and unless we have some other criterion to measure
by, we have no way of knowing that any of these languages emerged from an
isolating "first language". It could be that all isolating languages
became isolating due to stressful contact situations, where, as you noted,
inflection became more of a hindrance to communication than a help.

When you call synthetic languages "mature", do you assume they must
necessarily have evolved from more analytical ones?



Dr. Aya Katz, Inverted-A, Inc, P.O. Box 267, Licking, MO
65542 USA
(417) 457-6652 (573) 247-0055

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