[Lingtyp] Temporal features?

Hedvig Skirgård hedvig.skirgard at gmail.com
Sun Sep 30 06:59:37 EDT 2018


Hi Ian,

This is a fun thing to think about!

I think that Wray & Grace in their 2005 paper "The consequences of talking
to strangers: Evolutionary corollaries of socio-cultural influences on
linguistic form" present several reasonable ideas on the effects of certain
group structure, writing etc on linguistic features. These would include
things such as more implicit information if you're all the time talking to
people you're very familiar with and more complicated syntactic embedding
the more your community engages in writing. Through human history, we have
lived in different kinds of social structures and this may have had an
effect in the way you suggest. For example, during the bronze age it's
likely that we overall lived in smaller groups. Some of these ideas also
overlap with Trudgill's, like Randy mentioned earlier.

I can also really recommend Greenhill's 2014 chapter "Demographic
correlates of language diversity, it sums up much of this literature neatly.


*Med vänliga hälsningar**,*

*Hedvig Skirgård*


PhD Candidate

The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific

The Australian National University

Website <https://sites.google.com/site/hedvigskirgard/>


P.S. If you have multiple email addresses, I kindly ask you to just use one
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addresses re-direct emails to them to my gmail (ANU etc).




Den sön 30 sep. 2018 kl 17:13 skrev Avery Andrews <Avery.Andrews at anu.edu.au
>:

> Hi all,
>
>
>
> I don’t see how a strictly temporal view as such is really viable; what is
> viable is a cultural view that includes time, not only as in Peter’s work
> as mentioned by Randy, but also for example Fred Karlsson’s work on the
> history of recursion (*Syntactic recursion and iteration, in  *Harry van
> der Hulst, ed., *Recursion and Human Language*. Berlin/New York: Mouton de
>
> Gruyter, 2010. Pp. 43-67) , wherein, iirc, it is found that non-literate
> languages tend not to user recursion very much, but may start to do so if
> the speakers start a literary tradition, and the amount of recursion
> increases for about 400 years and then levels off or even declines.
>
>
>
> Avery
>
>
>
> *From:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] *On
> Behalf Of *Randy LaPolla
> *Sent:* Sunday, 30 September 2018 4:44 PM
> *To:* Joo Ian <ian.joo at outlook.com>
> *Cc:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] Temporal features?
>
>
>
> Hi Ian,
>
> Peter Trudgill has addressed this issue, e.g. in “Societies of intimates
> and linguistic complexity” in DeBusser & LaPolla eds., *Language
> Structure and Environment: Social, Cultural, and Natural Factors.*
> Benjamins, 2015.
>
>
>
> Randy
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>
> On 30 Sep 2018, at 12:04 PM, Joo Ian <ian.joo at outlook.com> wrote:
>
> Dear all,
>
>
>
> We all know that languages spoken in a certain area (for example, Mainland
> Southeast Asia) tend to share areal features. But what about time? Do
> languages spoken at a certain time period, such as say, Bronze Age, share a
> certain feature distinct from the features of languages spoken during, say,
> Iron Age?
>
> If so, then would a sample of languages spoken only at a certain time
> period (such as the 21st century) also be a temporally biased sample,
> similar to how a sample of languages spoken only in Europe would be an
> areally biased sample?
>
> In order to create a trully non-biased sample of languages, is it also
> necessary to avoid temporal bias?
>
>
>
> I can think of several “temporal features”:
>
>
>
>    1. Vocabulary. Languages spoken before the 20th century would not have
>    any words referring to “computer.” Bronze Age languages would have no words
>    related to iron.
>    2. Metaphors. Some have argued that some metaphors, such as TIME IS
>    MONEY, arose only via industrialization (although I have argued
>    against this
>    <https://www.academia.edu/37137427/TIME_IS_MONEY_in_Classical_Chinese>,
>    claiming that it has also existed in Classical Chinese)
>    3. Gender-bias. Most languages we speak today are biased towards male,
>    for example the generic pronoun being the masculine singular pronoun. But
>    in the 21st century, where we strive for gender equality, we see that
>    there are conscious changes being made to fix this gender-bias.
>
>
>
> But in terms of syntax, morphology, phonology, etc. are there specific
> temporal features?
>
> I would appreciate any insights on this issue.
>
>
>
> From Hong Kong,
>
> Ian Joo
>
> http://ianjoo.academia.edu
>
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