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--- On Fri, 7/15/11, Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Daniel Burgener
> <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> > 1) If the conlang is meant to be evolved by a modern
> speaker or speakers,
> > why are you setting it up with ancient vocabulary?
> 
> When two modern languages are related one can tell
> something about
> when they split apart into two languages by which words
> they have in
> common, and which words are different.

Generally, yes, at least according to lexicostatics.....

 If Language A and
> Language B
> have the same word for "fire" and different words for
> "wheel" then
> they must have split sometime after the discovery of fire,
> but before
> the invention of the wheel. 

Not necessarily. The other Germanic languages have other word(s) for "wheel", but Engl. has _wheel_, which descends from the same Indo-Eur. root as Greek kyklos, Skt. cakra (IIRC). Therefore, Proto-Gmc. must have had a form < that IE root, but replaced it; Engl. hasn't. As languages separate from the proto-stage, they are subject to other influences/loans/substrate langs. etc.-- including often vague social factors--which accounts for much of the difference in vocabulary. 
snip
> >
> > 2) Regarding the online aspect.  I admittedly don't
> understand linguistics
> > very much, so maybe I'm totally wrong, but don't a lot
> of interesting
> > linguistic changes primarily arise only through spoken
> language?

Yes. When we say that phoneme X in language A > phoneme Y in lang. B, the implication is that the change occurred in the spoken language, usually over 2 or 3 generations. Obviously, since in the earliest stages there were no written forms.