The UPenn IE Tree (a test)

Tue Aug 31 17:13:15 UTC 1999

[summary of a discussion where I don't know quite who said what]

>>No.  An ancestral language cannot co-exist with its own descendant.>>


>	Actually it can.
>	Both Spanish and its daughter language Ladino are alive, although
>Ladino, the daughter language is endangered.
>	English and the Papuan languages [etc.] that spawned Tok Pisin are
>all alive.
>	But the Spanish that gave rise to Ladino has probably changed as
>much as  [if not more than] Ladino has. Spanish and Ladino are also
>mutually comprehensible, although you occasionally have to ask what a word

>Rick Mc Callister
>Mississippi University for Women
>Columbus MS 39701

>[ Moderator's comment:
>  15th century Spanish is no more "alive" than 15th century English, so modern
>  Ladino and other modern Spanish dialects are not a case of a contemporaneous
>  parent & descendant language pair, but of dialects that are called different
>  languages for sociopolitical reasons.  Certainly in the sense that Mr. Long
>  intends, no language ever lives alongside its parent for more than a single
>  generation (if that long).
>  --rma ]

How about this example: medieval Franch, Spanish, Italian etc. beside medieval
Latin, which certainly must be regarded as a living language but was
effectively indistinguishable from the "Vulgar Latin" that was the actual
source of these tongues?  Similarly, what about Sanskrit (still living, for
some Indians, and long kept alive for scholarly use) and modern Indic
languages?  If they are not descended precisely from Sanskrit as codified by
Pan.ini, that is mere chance; there would be no *logical* problem in saying
that they had, just as there is no logical problem in saying that medieval
Latin coexisted with its descendants, the medieval romance tongues.


Leo A. Connolly                         Foreign Languages & Literatures
connolly at                    University of Memphis

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