Monday, November 17, 2008

...on linguistic evolution

Series straddling three blogs: 
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ...on linguistic evolution
...on Tower of Babel or language evolution
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q
Is Boromir a mimsy borogove?
"If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm
On the "Reformed Egyptian" of the "Nephites"
side issue on previous, Theology: A Gerald Smith on the theme of "Great Apostasy" and "Restored Gospel" - answered
Is Romanides accurate?
Was Romanides accurate? Bis! Not very much at all!
Linguistics for Romanides: Greek, Latin, Patois
Coniectura linguistica, pro casu unitatis vetustissimae indo-europaeae linguae.
Creation vs. Evolution : 32 language families for 72 nations ...
To this essay: 

Re: The usual creationist objections
by: hglundahl (34/M/Malmö) 10/16/03 07:31 pm
Msg: 200430 of 200977

What you do not clearly distinguish is the difference between language evolution and the influx of other languages into a language bases, as was the case in the Norman invasion of English, which introduced over l0,000 French words into English.

  • - First of all it introduced them into England - along with usually monolingual francophones.

  • - Second, it is not just technical vocabulary, but also certain features of syntax which went into this restructuring of ex-anglo-saxon patois into English as we know it for a civilised language.

  • - Third this would both have happened, as anglophones entered the élite or as members thereof learned English and used it for civilised purposes, whether clerical or courteous (intellectual or polite/risqué).

I quote in support of your use of the word evolution this:

Evolution as a concept applies to biology, geology, linguistics, astronomy, cosmology, and biochemistry.

Otherwise, the term evolution is used more generally to describe slow change in a number of fields.

Evolution in linguistics is one idea out of many rivalling ones, but not one solid fact.

Corruption and restructuring is another idea.

Like: servum was gradually corrupted, worn down into pronunciation [serf] which was replaced very consciously and on purpose by pronunciation [servum] by Alcuin of York ca 800, which led to a new one-to-one correspendence between letter and sound:

s [s]
e [e]
r [r]
u [v]
u [u]
m [m]

which in turn allowed [serf] to be respelled serf, as happened first time in Oaths of Straszburg 834, as my friend confirmed now.

Latin has never evolved into French. The French pronunciation of Latin was replaced by a letter faithful, as happened in America with words like laboratory [lae.BO.rae.tau.ree] vs older/British [lae.BO.rae.tree]. The Latin spelling of its French pronunciation was replaced by a new one, on the same principles of (then still) phonetic spelling as ruled the relation between Latin spelling and its reformed pronunciation.

Similarily English has not evolved from Anglo-Saxon, but West-saxon ceased to be written, anglo-saxon sunk into patois, which were all of a sudden restructured after the French model, when young people who could not learn French well had to fill the always small and then very decimated ranks of the formerly Francophone élite in England, right after the Black Death.

So French came to France as result of an English idea/tradition on how to pronounce Latin (where it had resisted wearing out by not being used as an every day language by the working people), English to England as a French world of ideas, grammar of complex structure, and a result of a disaster from French or Flemish ports.

French and English result from historic events, not from unhistoric evolutions.

It is unhistoric to claim that English resulted by evolution from anglosaxon. It is unhistoric to claim French was slowly changed from Latin. The slow changes produced in the one case a bad, insufficently clear pronunciation of Latin in France, in the other case boorish dialects in England. What produced French and English as the civilised languages we do know were sudden revolutionary conscious decisions of restructuring language. And such restructuring requires an intellect, whatever the nature of the information. And such an intellect able to restructure the chaotic results of evolution (aka sloth) is precisely what you do claim that there is not in the case of biological evolution.

Posted as a reply to: Msg 200348 by dhux99


Hans Lundahl said...

retrieved from:

Hans G Lundahl vs dhux99. ...on linguistic evolution. . 2008-11-29. URL: Accessed: 2008-11-29. (Archived by WebCite® at

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Dawkins made a challenge, on knowing the past.