Author Topic: Language evolution  (Read 3754 times)

Flawless P

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Language evolution
« on: July 24, 2015, 01:00:10 PM »
I've got a character I intend to introduce in a game in the near future who's been in a kind of stasis for 500 years. He speaks "common" but I know that languages that are called the same are usually quite different between their eras.

So does anyone here know any notable examples of how spoken and written English has changed over the last 500 years? This will give me a jumping off point to create my own idiosyncrasies.

I tried googling it but it's a hard thing to explain in search engine terms.
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FuzzyDan

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Re: Language evolution
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 01:18:28 PM »
http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=59665

Not exactly what you want but can give you an idea of what language you want to borrow from?

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Alethea

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Re: Language evolution
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2015, 09:01:44 AM »
So does anyone here know any notable examples of how spoken and written English has changed over the last 500 years? This will give me a jumping off point to create my own idiosyncrasies.

The easiest example I can give is to look at Shakespeare's plays - it's only 400 years-ish, but it ought to give you a good starting point. Just keep in mind that Shakespeare invented a lot of words in his plays, words that work so well we're still using them.

This is probably something most focused on by language scholars. How do the search terms 'language evolution', 'linguistic shift', and 'speech patterns' work out for you in Google Scholar? I'd also try 'Middle English'.

You want something wild, check out Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf. Old English on the left, Modern English on the right, and it's almost like they're in different alphabets, the text is so different. Further back than you're looking for, but rather interesting.
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Clarence in Wonderland

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Re: Language evolution
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 06:07:26 PM »
So does anyone here know any notable examples of how spoken and written English has changed over the last 500 years? This will give me a jumping off point to create my own idiosyncrasies.
Try this out
  • Pronounce silent letters in words like "know, thumb, write
  • Say silent e's at the ends of words, like in Porsche
  • Make all those gh's sound like Scottish/German CH (as in loch or Bach), like night, laugh, through
  • English "long vowels" should have Spanish values
  • so long ā in "late" would sound like the a in father
  • long ē is like in "café"
  • long ī is like in "machine"
  • "ou" as in "house" is pronounced like "oo" in "food"
Toss in a few archaisms like "thou, thee" and "know not" instead of "don't know" – that'll give you around 500 years of change.