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On 9/26/14, Leo Moser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Stephen Rice says:
>> When actual linguists group languages,
>> they seldom pay much attention to lexicons
>
> What then is the Swadesh List?

It's a list of core terms least likely to change. I had meant to
mention it. However, such lists (there are several) account for well
under 1% of the lexicon of most languages. So the vast majority of the
lexicon is quite mutable.

> Grammar is just as changeable as the Lexicon.
> Maybe more so.
> Take English and compare to PIE or even German.

Nonsense. Which has changed more from Middle English to Modern? Every
year several words enter or leave (as obsolete/archaic) the
vocabulary, while the grammar largely stays put from year to year.
After the Battle of Hastings, the English lexicon went from mostly
Germanic to heavily influenced by Romance, and while the grammar also
changed, it wasn't nearly as dramatic. And somehow English didn't
become a Romance language: it's still Germanic despite even more
Latino-Romance influence.

This is why I reject the typical worldlanger obsession with the
lexicon: it treats a comparatively trivial feature as central. If I
encrypt a language, such as English, I don't really change the
language; I only superficially change its form. So if English is not a
worldlang and LdP is, what if I relex English with LdP morphemes, thus
keeping English structures intact but only changing the words?
Wouldn't that make English a worldlang? And if I relexed LdP using
English morphemes, even though LdP would not actually change in its
features, wouldn't it cease to be a worldlang? So a completely
superficial change can apparently alter the fundamental nature of a
language.

Grammar and related factors must be taken into account. Interlingua
superficially resembles both LFN and Occidental lexically, but the
differences are pronounced if you look past the surface.

Steve