kevin wrote:Actually, I remembered a post by Saaropean where he suggested that German was in a process of developing a new conjugation from contractions of verbs and pronouns, and I managed to find the thread
Interesting! Together with the recent mention on the ZBB thread about "SAE-ness" where it was mentioned that German supposedly distinguishes inalienable and alienable possession, this is making me kind of interested in trying to actively learn at least a little bit of German... but I'll never be able to commit to it because I'm still struggling with Japanese, haha. Even right now, typing "haha", I thought of how it means "mother" in Japanese. But that sentence wouldn't make any sense if you were my mum, since if you were my mum, I wouldn't need to learn German since it'd be my mother tongue... yeah, I know I'm not funny. Hopefully you don't find my attempt offensive.
dEhiN wrote:How does it seem (more) logical though?
Because of nationalism and prescriptivism, which often go hand in hand and at least the elite will generally stick to the strict rules of the written language at least formally. The masses could very well be more likely to embrace influences from all the languages spoken by the people they come in contact with, but as long as they're only taught the formal standard at school and told to avoid simplification and foreign influence, at least some will take it to heart. The elite will likely remain adamant in upholding the standards for the written language (even if they become obsolete among the common people), especially if there's a long tradition of classic literature.
In a small and relatively isolated community, AFAIK fossilisation is as likely as innovation, but when innovation does happen, the elite opposing it is smaller (and likely less adamant in their opposition in the first place because of the lack of a literary tradition as a justification for upholding the rigid standards), it could happen faster than in a large community and spread over the entire community of speakers instead of leading to the development of divergent dialects/sociolects/whateverlects.
...but I guess maybe the "logic" in that argument cancels itself out, so I guess it's not more logical after all.
dEhiN wrote:I could easily see an industrialized language (i.e., one spoken by those millions of people you mentioned) undergoing the same sort of thing. While redundancy exists in language, people also find ways, at least in speech, to shorten what they have to say. These forms could then become common due to the millions of people in contact with each other, which then transfer to the written language, eventually becoming codified as the standard grammar.
True, but a part of me feels like it'd still be more likely for that kind of stuff to happen in languages without literary traditions with "classics" that codify the "ideal form" of the language, since the language used in those will often be seen as something to emulate even if it's obsolete even in the elite's everyday speech. Maybe the number of speakers and level of industrialisation really is (more or less) irrelevant, though.
dEhiN wrote:In fact, in one sense, it's happening in English through contraction. What used to be a free morpheme - not - has been changing to a bound morpheme (that I suppose would be classified as a clitic??) - n't. While currently both forms exist in the spoken and written standards of the language, it's conceivable that one day the free morpheme will fall completely out of use and only the bound one will remain.
That makes me wonder: do people still say stuff like "that's cool... not!", or is that no longer a thing? Probably not. Like, Wiktionary says it's 90s slang, but it couldn't be only a 90s thing... I mean, it was still a thing at least until I was 14 or something among some of the people I interacted with online and English classes (and breaks after them) at school and whatnot.