Advanced

Globalisation and language contact: impact on historical change and exceptions

Toyota, Junichi LU (2008) Language, literature, globalisation
Abstract
Language contact through globalisation has indeed influenced various changes in a number of human languages in different corners of the world. In recent years, some scholars have focused particularly on language contact as a reason behind historical changes, and some even consider that the language contact is the major force. In this paper, however, it is argued that language contact can be negligible in some cases and changes can be triggered by other factors, such as human cognitive faculty.<br>

A particular case analysed in this paper is English and other Indo-European languages, starting from its ancestral language, Proto-Indo-European. Seeing from the time span of 6,000 years or more, it is possible to see that there... (More)
Language contact through globalisation has indeed influenced various changes in a number of human languages in different corners of the world. In recent years, some scholars have focused particularly on language contact as a reason behind historical changes, and some even consider that the language contact is the major force. In this paper, however, it is argued that language contact can be negligible in some cases and changes can be triggered by other factors, such as human cognitive faculty.<br>

A particular case analysed in this paper is English and other Indo-European languages, starting from its ancestral language, Proto-Indo-European. Seeing from the time span of 6,000 years or more, it is possible to see that there is a cycle involving binary grammatical features. These features become complex at some stage, i.e. ternary or quaternary, and then become binary again. Binary opposition is beneficial to our cognition, since it is much easier to process information. Ternary or quaternary choices force us to use wider capacity and cognitive load to deal with informational input. As our society develops, information we need to communicate become more and more complex, and languages have developed in order to cope with this complexity. This is how languages develop ternary or quaternary system of grammatical structure. The complex structures, interestingly, often return to their original, simpler, binary structure.<br>

So, it is argued here that various changes observable in English and other Indo-European languages can be considered closely related to human cognitive ability, especially in relation to the retention of binary features. Binary features allow us to ease the load on our cognition and it has proven to be useful. This factor can be considered more significant than the language contact in historical changes and this can leave out influence from the language contact in diachronic changes. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
conference name
Language, literature, globalisation
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
53a1cc57-83b4-453a-9e87-0a571652a45b (old id 1369337)
date added to LUP
2009-04-08 09:32:05
date last changed
2016-09-01 11:25:30
@misc{53a1cc57-83b4-453a-9e87-0a571652a45b,
  abstract     = {Language contact through globalisation has indeed influenced various changes in a number of human languages in different corners of the world. In recent years, some scholars have focused particularly on language contact as a reason behind historical changes, and some even consider that the language contact is the major force. In this paper, however, it is argued that language contact can be negligible in some cases and changes can be triggered by other factors, such as human cognitive faculty.&lt;br&gt;<br/><br>
 A particular case analysed in this paper is English and other Indo-European languages, starting from its ancestral language, Proto-Indo-European. Seeing from the time span of 6,000 years or more, it is possible to see that there is a cycle involving binary grammatical features. These features become complex at some stage, i.e. ternary or quaternary, and then become binary again. Binary opposition is beneficial to our cognition, since it is much easier to process information. Ternary or quaternary choices force us to use wider capacity and cognitive load to deal with informational input. As our society develops, information we need to communicate become more and more complex, and languages have developed in order to cope with this complexity. This is how languages develop ternary or quaternary system of grammatical structure. The complex structures, interestingly, often return to their original, simpler, binary structure.&lt;br&gt;<br/><br>
 So, it is argued here that various changes observable in English and other Indo-European languages can be considered closely related to human cognitive ability, especially in relation to the retention of binary features. Binary features allow us to ease the load on our cognition and it has proven to be useful. This factor can be considered more significant than the language contact in historical changes and this can leave out influence from the language contact in diachronic changes.},
  author       = {Toyota, Junichi},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Globalisation and language contact: impact on historical change and exceptions},
  year         = {2008},
}