The evolution of word order and “free word order” language...

Oct 20, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I outlined the recently proposed theory by Gell-Mann and Ruhlen on the origin and evolution of word order. According to their proposal, the most recent common ancestor of all currently living human languages,...

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Was Proto-Human an SOV language?

Oct 17, 2011 by

Most scholars agree that all of today’s languages descend from a common ancestral language, Proto-Human, which was spoken by behaviourally modern humans (BMHs) some time between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago. (Some theories...

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Why Some Languages Sound So Fast, or do they?

Sep 19, 2011 by

As a long-time reader of this blog would already know, I am typically skeptical of “linguistic” studies that calculate an average this and multiply it by an average that and supposedly produce results that are relevant...

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Burushaski, an un-exotic "orphan" language

Aug 19, 2011 by

Burushaski’s claim to fame is its isolate status. Put simply, it is not related to any other human language on the planet. It is spoken by some 55,000-60,000 people (called Burusho) in the Hunza-Nagar area and the Yasin area in...

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What language is the most complex?

Jun 7, 2011 by

This question is really a variation on the question we’ve most recently discussed in this blog (thanks to all the readers who took the time to post comments!): “what is the most difficult language to learn”. And...

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What is the most difficult language to learn — and why?

Jun 3, 2011 by

As mentioned in the previous posting, there are numerous rankings of “difficult” (and “easy”) languages to learn (note that we are talking about second-language learning here, not acquiring one’s native...

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