Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34328

Still Needed:

$40672

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

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: Would this be for something like writing a believable science fiction story?

In real life, communities that separate do not totally lose contact. So we don't have good historical evidence. If you look at things like the separation between (modern) French and (modern) Italian, or between (modern) Dutch and (modern) English, it looks as if, after 2000 years or so, commmnunication might be hard, but isn't impossible, with a bit of negotiation.

In an imaginary situation, where there was no contact at all, I think you could think that after a millenium communication might be hard if the two communities met up again. I can't imagine there would be much problem at all after 3 centuries.

Anthea

Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
 
Date: 04-Oct-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Effect of seperation of people group on a common spoken languge    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (03-Oct-2012)
  2. Re: Effect of seperation of people group on a common spoken languge    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (15-Oct-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions