Sunday, 7 September 2008

English as she will be spoke

2000 AD: We children beg you, teacher, that you should teach us to speak correctly, because we are ignorant and we speak corruptly...
3000 AD: *ZA kiad w'-exùn ya tijuh, da ya-gAr'-eduketan zA da wa-tAgan lidla, kaz 'ban iagnaran an wa-tAg kurrap...
That's how Americans will be talking in about a thousand years, according to a detailed study written by this guy.

The page is about halfway unreadable for anyone who's not a linguist, but the other half is okay. Think it's not likely? Here's what the first version above looked like when it was first written in 1000 AD:
1000 AD: Wé cildra biddaþ þé, éalá láréow, þæt þú taéce ús sprecan rihte, forþám ungelaérede wé sindon, and gewæmmodlíce we sprecaþ...
So, as you might expect, we're currently at the midpoint between two extremes. The finch hasn't stopped evolving, and neither has the way peeps talk.

To help you out a bit, here's a bit of explanation swiped from the page:

*zA, pronounced "zaw"
"Us-all", analogous in form to the second- and third-person *yA, *dA.
*kiad, pronounced "KKHEE-ud"
"Kid", obviously enough.
*w'-exùn, pronounced "weSHÖ(NG)"
Pronominal prefix ("we") and finite verb-stem; a twenty-fifth century slang term, origin unclear.
*ya, pronounced "yuh"
"You", singular.
*tijuh, pronounced "TEEZH-ögh"
From "teacher", now restricted to meaning specifically a language-instructor.
*da, pronounced "duh"
"That", as a subordinating conjunction.
*ya-gAr'-eduketan, pronounced "yagaw-RED-üket'n"
Pronominal prefix, auxiliary prefix (from "gotta") and nonfinite verb ("educate" - note the preserved form).
*wa-tAgan, pronounced "wuh-TSAWG'n"
"Talk"; pronominal prefix and nonfinite verb.
*lidla, pronounced "LEEDla"
A back-loan from Central Hindi, where English "legal" developed the specialised sense "linguistically well-formed".
The rest is at the link.

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