On Nov 17, 2009, at 11◊52 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:

> Hallo!
> On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 17:11:25 -0800, Jesse Bangs wrote:
>>>> So, now for my question:
>>>> Can a parent language exist as an every-day language in one nation;  
>>>> while 
>>>> its daughter languages are spoken in neighbouring nations?
>>>> rephrased: Does a parent language have to die for its daughters to be 
>>>> used? 
>>>> A real-world example would be: Latin being spoken at the same time as
>>>> French, Italian, Romanian &c.
>>> Yes (consider Afrikaans and Dutch).  Most of the modern examples
>>> are creoles (e.g. all the languages which contributed to Tok Pisin are
>>> still spoken), but in the past I'm sure this was bound to happen.
>> I have to disagree. If regions A and B share a common language, and
>> enough time goes by to render those languages mutually unintelligible,
>> there will also be enough time to render both A and B unintelligible
>> with their parent. I'm not aware of any exception to this
>> anywhere--languages do differ in their degree of conservation, but not
>> enough to remain "in place" while a sister language diverges.

That, of course, was not the question.  The question was whether the parent
language could still exist as a current, spoken language.  I don't see why it couldn't.
I also don't see why it would have to change so much that it would no longer
be considered the same language (even though it wouldn't be, for which see below).

> Right.  I know of no language family where one of the member languages
> was the same as the protolanguage.  ALL languages change, some faster,
> some slower.  Sure, one hears sometimes tales about Icelandic being
> "unblemished Old Norse" or some Appalachian hillbillies speaking "pure
> Elizabethan English".  Those tales are, alas, not true.  Even Icelandic
> and Appalachian English have changed, even if they may have retained
> some old features that were lost elsewhere.
> In the case of Dutch and Afrikaans, the common ancestor is 18th-century
> Dutch, which is not the same as 21st-century Dutch: the difference may
> be slight, but it is clearly visible.  It is just that one of the
> descendants of 18th-century Dutch is still called "Dutch", while
> another descendant received the new name "Afrikaans".

That's basically going to the other extreme, which is the other side
of the same coin: No language is ever the same as it was even moments
before.  While that's true, it's not very useful.  For example, I'm
pretty sure if I was transported back to 19th--even 17th--century
America, I could get by.  The language wouldn't be the same, but
it'd be close enough.

But this, again, butts up against the issue of a language "dying"
vs. simply changing.  The issue itself seems pretty clear, though.
If Grecian explorers had sent colonies out to the far reachers of
the Earth and set up new nations in the 2nd century, or so, those
languages would be pretty different from each other, pretty
different from the original Greek, and Greek would have been
in continuous use the whole time (even though the original
Greek would be far different today from what it was in the 2nd

"A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison

LCS Member Since 2007