While it's true that diverse (but related) languages often invent different
words for things if those things have arisen post-divergence, it's an abuse
of the rules of logic to assume that the absence of a cognate IMPLIES a
post-divergence concept/invention.

English "horse" is equivalent to German "Pferd" and Greek "híppos" and
French "cheval," none of which are cognates. But it's irresponsible to
assume from this that the Proto-Indo-European speakers lacked horses (they
had them).

Sometimes languages just switch out words for things to keep things fresh.


On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, Gary Shannon wrote:

> Perhaps people learned how to open an egg long before learning how to
> close one back up.  One might also be interested in opening a
> shellfish with no intention of ever closing it again. In general, it
> seems like opening things could well have come long before closing
> things, since many natural things can be opened, but usually only
> man-made open-able things are closeable. --gary
> On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 8:34 AM, Njenfalgar <[log in to unmask]<javascript:;>>
> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I have a question for the list which may be of interest to all diachronic
> > conlangers here. As I'm now learning my fourth Romance language
> > (Portuguese) I am starting to notice that certain words are cognate in
> all
> > Romance languages I know (as "to open": French "ouvrir", Catalan "obrir",
> > Spanish "abrir", Portuguese "abrir") while others never are (as "to
> close":
> > French "fermer" < Lat. firmare, Catalan "tancar" < some Pre-Roman
> language,
> > Spanish "cerrar" < Lat. serare, Portuguese "fechar" < Lat. factus). Now
> we
> > all know that words for concepts invented *after* a language split will
> not
> > be cognate, but I had always thought closing things would have been
> > invented quite early... Does anyone know whether this observation of mine
> > is just due to random chance or whether there just are certain words that
> > are more likely to be replaced during language evolution?
> >
> > Greets,
> > David
> >
> > --
> > Dos ony tăsnonnop, koták ony tăsnonnop.
> >
> >