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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Effect of seperation of people group on a common spoken languge|
|Question:||I wanted to know if it would, at all, fit into a possible scenario, that two groups of people could be separated completely for a few hundred years and still understand each other. I'm not looking for a definite yes or no, but I would like to know if it is plausible if they spent a much longer time together before separation.|
|Reply:||For length of time, I would say "it depends". Obviously, the longer time the group is apart the more they will drift away from each other. If the two groups are in very different environments or come into contact with different cultures, then the differences will be further exaggerated. I'm not sure what you mean by "time together". If you mean neighboring dialects, then we already know there is some linguistic distance built in. If you mean two groups from the same dialect/language, then I don't believe their social history matters. That is, I would expect similar results whether the split happened in a group of Italian speakers living in the same village for thousands of years or a group of immigrants in New York who adopted a language like English only a few generations ago and now speak with a class "New York" accent.|
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|