Posted: Sep 14, 2012 11:13 pm
by virphen
Going back to your Aug 23rd post which I hadn't read until now, where you talk about the English of a millennium ago. I had read of a hypothesis where this simplification was explained as being caused at least in part by influxes of large numbers of adults who had to learn the new language (particularly the Scandinavian influx). That is, adults having to learn a second language tend to struggle with some of the pickier aspects of the grammar of the language they are adopting and dispense with them. That at least superficially seems to make sense to me (as someone trying to learn French I'd quite like to take le and la , un and une and merge them until some middling sound, most of the gender features seem to make it all so much more complicated while adding little to the content communicated). That hypothesis is extended to Persion, where the connection is made to the Persian empire importing workers from all over the fertile crescent and facing them with the same problem and resultant phenomena, adults having to learn a new language and tending to abandon or merge some of the more difficult and apparently redundant grammatical features. I'm sure there were other languages cited. The result being a stripped down, easier to learn (for adults) language.

Is there any merit in that sort of hypothesis?