New frontiers in evolutionary linguistics

Our mother tongues seem to us like the natural way to communicate, but it is perhaps a universal human experience to be confronted and confused by a very different language. We can't help but wonder
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Our mother tongues seem to us like the natural way to communicate, but it is perhaps a universal human experience to be confronted and confused by a very different language. We can’t help but wonder how and why other languages sound so strange to us, and can be so difficult to learn as adults. This is an even bigger surprise when we consider that all languages come from a common source. That is, languages weren’t created differently, but became different as their speakers spread out across the world and lost touch over millennia. So the real question is, what caused them to become so different? Are there limits on how different they can become? Linguists have been trying to answer this question for a long time, and we now know of many basic principles of language change – some changes to sounds are predictable, because they make words easier to say. Some changes to grammar are predictable because they make speech easier for our brains to process. Some changes reflect. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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