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Garrett wrote:

> Here's my theory: Languages are becoming more corrupted through time.

This is very much the traditional viewpoint, but it is no longer
widely believed.

>  Look
> at the languages of today - they have all sorts of idiosyncracies,
> irregularities, idioms, and stuff like that. Look at the ancient languages
> like Latin or Greek - they may have a bunch of cases and stuff, but at
> least they're regular, AFAIK.

Apples and oranges.  Our records of extinct languages reflect for
the most part the way people *wrote* them on their best behavior.
Only a tiny fraction of the total language got recorded.

In addition, much of the supposed irregularity of modern languages
comes from the tension between how they are transcribed and described,
using methods better suited to the extinct languages for which they
were originally designed.  Latin was able to employ a new alphabet
suited to it, and a somewhat new grammatical description (though
both founded on Greek practice to be sure).  French had neither
advantage.

--
John Cowan      http://www.ccil.org/~cowan              [log in to unmask]
        You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
        You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
                Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)