Language evolution, acquisition, adaptation and change

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Authors
Strongman, L.
Issue Date
2017
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Book chapter
Language
en
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Abstract
In the twenty‐first century, there are between 6000 and 8000 different languages spoken in the world, all of which are in a continuous state of evolving, by inter‐mixing or stagnating, growing or contracting. This occurs through changes in the population size of the people who use them, the frequency and form of their use in different media, through migration and through inter‐mixing with other languages. As Stadler et al. argue, human languages are a ‘culturally evolving trait’ and when it occurs language change is both sporadic and robust (faithfully replicated) and the main established variants are replaced by new variants. Only about 200 of these disparate languages are in written as well as spoken form, and most, except the popular ones like Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, and Russian, are in decline of use. But how did language itself evolve and come to be the most important innate tool possessed by people? The complex issue of language evolution continues to perplex because of its associations with culture, social behaviour and the development of the human mind.
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Strongman, L. (2017). Language evolution, acquisition, adaptation and change. In J. Xiaoming (Ed.), Sociolinguistics – Interdisciplinary perspective. Retrieved from https://www.intechopen.com/books/sociolinguistics-interdisciplinary-perspectives/language-evolution-acquisition-adaptation-and-change
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