Commenter Nicholas Arkison made an excellent observation on my last post (UPDATE: For clarification, the ‘elephants’ comment is in regards to Riders of Skaith’s citing the fact that African Elephants no longer have giant ‘tusker’ specimens as an example of forced evolution):
Some of us would say language mostly devolves. (Just think how much disgraceful feminist jargon we could have avoided if we hadn’t let the word “wight” fall out of fashion.) Then again, some of us would also say that about African elephants. Basically, whenever the word “evolve” is used with reference to contemporary phenomena, I’d say there’s at least an 80% chance that the speaker’s trying to put an unjustifiably good spin on humanity’s latest bit of thoughtless vandalism.
2 thoughts on “Comment: Devolving Languages”
Well, now this is an honor. Many thanks. (Though it is a pity you didn’t at least parenthetically summarize Riders of Skaith’s tusker comment as well. The elephant reference looks rather odd and irrelevant without that context.)
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