Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Future of Language


In the future, fewer languages will be spoken, and they will be simpler--so argues linguist John H. McWhorter.

Among other things, McWhorter discusses the origin of English as a pidgin spoken on the language border between Vikings and native Englishmen in the Danelaw in the Middle Ages. This process caused English to lose much of its earlier syntactic complexity, which makes it easier for nonnative speakers to learn than Chinese (for example), which has tones that are evidently difficult for adult nonnative speakers to master.
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