When a Parent Becomes a Daughter

JoatSimeon at aol.com JoatSimeon at aol.com
Sat Dec 18 05:49:50 UTC 1999

>X99Lynx at aol.com writes:

>Take the language that you describe an "ancestor" by whatever definition you
>use above.  Why are you assuming it also has to change status and become one
>of the "daughters" just when another daughter emerges?

-- because all living languages are in a process of constant change; they are
all constantly evolving into their successors.

What we call a "language" is a freeze-frame snapshot of this process, a
description of the lexicon and structure _at a given moment_.

The process is usually so slow that ordinary people don't notice it, but it's
continuous nonetheless.  A language which doesn't split into different
branches will also, over time, 'cease to exist' and be supplanted by a

Greek is a good example.  Modern Greek is not the same language as Classical;
an ordinary speaker of Modern Greek and a representative Classical Greek
speaker could not converse.

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