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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Modern Hebrew: old or new? (Part 2)

May 20, 2011 by

As mentioned in the previous posting, in Ben-Yehuda’s own time many perceived his “revived” form of Hebrew as a modernized version of the old language, Biblical Hebrew. Some liked the continuity and viewed the...

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On statistical universals

May 17, 2011 by

In yesterday’s posting, we’ve come to a conclusion that statistical universals (e.g., “Languages with both adjective-noun and noun-numeral orders are extremely rare”) are useless for a learner trying to...

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Are there "universal truths" about language?

Apr 26, 2011 by

In several recent postings, I’ve discussed two studies recently conducted in New Zealand: one on the origins of human language by Quentin D. Atkinson and colleagues published in Science, and the other on the origins of the...

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