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Subject:Re: general topic of spelling From:David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Wed, 15 Jun 2005 23:50:39 -0500
I've been doing some research recently as part of a proposal I'm
working on for submission to the government--for machine translation
software that will translate input from various other languages into
"good enough" English.
As a result, I have been reading with some interest about linguistic
trends over time.
It appears that the kind of simplification of grammar that is so
apparent these days in English is common in nearly every language.
They vary in the speed of this transition, but without exception I
have been able to find, languages tend to become grammatically simpler
and richer in vocabulary as time passes.
As it happens, English is part of a general language group known as
"Indo-European". Modern languages in Western Europe are nearly all
from this base (other than Basque and, I believe, Finnish). It turns
out that Lithuanian seems to be among the most archaic of the
Indo-European languages--and its grammar rules constitute a fairly
good superset of the grammar rules of most other I-E languages. In
fact, Lithuanian is surprisingly close to Farsi--and both are clearly
related to ancient Sanskrit. (A friend who speaks passable Lithuanian
happened to go to a bank in Kaunas with a friend who speaks no
Lithuanian but does speak Farsi--and understood nearly the entire
(Pardon if you already knew all this--I find it fascinating!)
Thus, those of us who often lament what seems to be the "degradation"
of the language are quickly becoming troglodytes of a sort--railing
against the inevitable simplification of the language.
In my view, though, we should all join a movement to simplify English
spelling and make it more regular! Think of the endless generations of
young students who would thank us!
On 6/15/05, Phillip St. James <saint0 -at- verizon -dot- net> wrote:
> Great question, James, but I wonder whether you referring to human generated
> typos or spell checker mistakes, or both.
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