English Is Plain Weird

Lexicon Valley


English is not normal the more you hang around and linguistics to more languages you mess around with the more language histories you learn the more you realize that this language that i'm speaking right now. Although it has many advantages for muendane and often unfair reasons this language is not normal and by that. I don't mean that it's extraordinary. I mean that english is weird as languages go and i actually find this one of the funnest things that i know about language and yet it's very hard to perceive it because it's the language that we speak and it's the language spoken by so very many other people in the world. English can feel so normal. But it's actually a highly abnormal thing. And i want to share with you. How it's abnormal and what i mean specifically is that when we think about language we have to think about the history of homo sapiens and the history of homo sapiens. As far as is known now goes back about three hundred thousand years and we might suppose that language emerged then. It's the way. I tend to think of it now. It's also possible. That homo erectus had language in which case language goes back about one point eight million years that is daniel ever another linguist view and i am pretty convinced of it but let's be conservative for now. Let's say that it's three hundred thousand years. The thing is for most of that time. Humanity was different from what most of humanity is now. The neolithic revolution that large scale architecture and the development of what we call civilizations. That's only ten thousand years ago or so and so what that means is that i say two hundred ninety thousand years what humanity was relatively small groups living on the land language developed there. So anything that happens to language after that is a departure from what language normally was what this evolved to be

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