Noted physicist teams with anthropologist to create ancient linguistic tree

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Noted physicist teams with anthropologist to create ancient linguistic tree

Message  gerardM le Sam 18 Juin - 17:34

Howdy.

Teresa Elms

The abstract for the original paper reads as follows:
Abstract 
Recent work in comparative linguistics suggests that all, or almost all, attested human languages may derive from a single earlier language. If that is so, then this language—like nearly all extant languages—most likely had a basic ordering of the subject (S), verb (V), and object (O) in a declarative sentence of the type “the man (S) killed (V) the bear (O).” When one compares the distribution of the existing structural types with the putative phylogenetic tree of human languages, four conclusions may be drawn. (i) The word order in the ancestral language was SOV. (ii) Except for cases of diffusion, the direction of syntactic change, when it occurs, has been for the most part SOV > SVO and, beyond that, SVO > VSO/VOS with a subsequent reversion to SVO occurring occasionally. Reversion to SOV occurs only through diffusion. (iii) Diffusion, although important, is not the dominant process in the evolution of word order. (iv) The two extremely rare word orders (OVS and OSV) derive directly from SOV.





Noted physicist teams with anthropologist to create ancient linguistic tree

PhysOrg.com -- With the thousands of languages in the world today, it’s hard to imagine just one of them…
PHYS.ORG

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