Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mainly Linguistics, on Quora

Given that Indo-European languages and the Asiatic languages are so distinctively different, could modern humanity have split up while they were still preverbal?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, amateur linguist Answered Fri

Other possibility : Tower of Babel.

What are the linguistic differences between Old Norse and Proto-Norse, and how is a word from one of the languages converted to its equivalent?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, amateur linguist Answered Fri

Old Norse is to Proto Norse about as Old French is to Latin : c. 1000 years younger.

Ek hlewagastiz holtingaz horna tawido

Old Norse / Old Icelandic
ég Hlégest Hölting horn-it gérthi

Change of word choice from tawido to gérthi, adding a final article to horn-it (modern Icelandic horn-ith) all other words (and basic word of horn) are the same, so you can study what 1000 years of language change did.

Given that the rate of language change varies greatly over time, is it possible that we have grossly under- or over-estimated the age of commonly accepted proto-languages?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, amateur linguist Answered Fri

Answer requested by Tim McCravy and Lamar Werner

This is indeed possible, but another possibility is, some proto-languages never existed and some groups are Sprachbund groups, like Balkanic (common features being areal).

This is what I think about Indo-European.

Do any non-Indo-European languages have words for "crazy, insane" that trace to the Moon, like the Latin and French words that led to English words like "lunatic, lunacy"?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, amateur linguist Answered Fri

Answer requested by David Minger

I do not know, but for cultures involving classical astrology such a development of sense is not improbable.

So, Sumerian, Akkadian, and even now Tamil arguably could, but I do not know if they did or do.

Since the Indo-European chief god was Dyeus Pater, then how come by the time of the Mycenaeans his Greek counterpart was replaced by Poseidon only for him to return by the classical era? Is it just a coincidence?
Hans-Georg Lundahl Answered 16h ago

As far as I know, for one thing, Proto-Indo-European unity is a tenuous hypothesis in linguistics and a much less tenable than that one in comparative mythology.

For another, Greeks had contacts with Crete (before Crete became Greek) and with Philistines who came from Greek.

The chief god of the Philistines was Dagon.

The Mycenaean form of “Poseidon” was “Potei Daon” - so the Mycenaeans were worshipping the Philistine chief god.

When the Franks first started their migration into Roman territory, they spoke a Germanic language. At what point did they adopt Latin as their main language? At what point in Latin turn into French?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, knows Latin Answered 16h ago

Answer requested by Tony Puckett

Franks still speak Germanic languages in Trier, which was Roman Empire, and in BeNeLux which was so too.

The guys who had Latin as their main language were the conquered Gallo-Romans.

In areas with many conquerors and few conquered, they stuck to Germanic, and in areas with many conquered and few conquerors they stuck to Latin.

EDIT : forgot what point sub question, thing is, Provençal and French started out as Latin with changed pronunciation, and with a higher register full of Latin words and forms no longer found in Provençal and French, then Latin changed pronunciation for international ecclesiastic comprehension (Alcuin of York came to Tours in 800 or 799) and just after, as the people did not understand the new pronunciation, a sermon was added after gospel in 813 which needed to explain the gospel in the local vernacular. As a result, priests had to think of how to express things without Latinisms (or too many) and also came to prepare sermons in new spelling rules applied to old pronunciation = > new written language.

What are some good resources for understanding morphology in Linguistics?
Hans-Georg Lundahl, amateur linguist Answered 16h ago

Answer requested by Alexandria Wasgatt

Shall I assume you are a native English speaker?

In that case, the best resource for understanding morphology as a general concept is a morphology of English.

You know English has 16 tenses, right?

Any finite verb can be present or past (2* …) which qualification is removed to the main auxiliary, and these further add potentials for distinguishing between non-future and future (2*2* …), non-perfect and perfect (2*2*2* …) and simple and progressive (2*2*2*2=16).

Furthermore the finite verb in present or past (auxiliary or main verb without auxiliaries) has persons (this is where “finite” as in “definite” or “defined” comes in : they are defined as to who is “doer” or “undergoer” etc). 1, 2, 3 sg, 1+2+3 pl.

In the case of 3 person, it is congruent with the singular or plural of the subject.

This a good start for understanding some linguistic concepts of morphology, like morphology is sometimes assymetric (3 different forms in singular, a single form for them in plural), a form depends on another form in congruence, and certain forms answer more questions than just one.

“When you come home, I shall have been writing for 2 or 3 hours and I shall have written 3 to 4 chapters.”

I shall have been writing = 1 sg present future perfect progressive
I shall have written = 1 sg present future perfect (simple).

The difference is, for English these questions about “write” are answered each by itself, in some languages they would narrow down to 2 or 3 morphemes.

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