Show Summary Details

p. 293. Language in time and spacelocked

  • P. H. Matthews


‘Language in space and time’ explores the topic of linguistic change. It is a fact, attested everywhere, that language changes, with vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation all being affected. That is why two languages which were once one can, in time, become so different. It must also be the reason why there are ‘languages’ at all. Within limits that might be genetically determined, language (singular) diversified by gradual changes, over a few tens of thousands of years, into the precursors of the languages (plural) which we can observe now. We have to assume that, from the outset, it carried the seeds of variability. Why, however, did change have to follow?

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.