Do languages "learn"?
Section by JKelly (12 October 2011) moved from main page:
There is no such thing as an isolated language, there never has been. In the past it has taken time for an idea to evolve and become part of a learning community; now it is with the speed of the internet. And is not just something adults are doing (one of the control factors is lost). The process by which ideas move from one learning community to another deserves consideration under this topic. Especially as we have become a global communicating community. How a language “learns” to work with new ideas is very important.
The processes of adopting and adapting,which is within every language , needs to be explored. If a topic is needed - examining the world wide spread and use of the - wireless phone - could help with the following questions:
- First contact with a language. How does a new idea introduce itself?
- Vocabulary development. How is local vocabulary “attached” to a new idea?
- Language flexibility. What gives a language “flexibility” to work with new ideas?
While this topic maybe an academic exercise for OERu members, it is a reality which elementary and secondary school teachers face daily in their learning communities. Hopefully WikiEducators will explore how a language “learns”.
This is a good question and a great Linguistics research topic.
The page here is about learning to speak, read and write languages. The phrase "language learning" is not uncommonly used in this sense.
The topic you suggest would be of interest to educators and to some learners and could be an optional part of a curriculum.
Perhaps make a separate page with an appropriate title (e.g.) "Language evolution" and link to it under "See Also". You could also start a broader topic such as "Linguistics" and include a suitable place for your topic of interest.
Obviously one can view it as a "Linguistic research topic", but there is more here. The observations voiced by the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE) in its Unit One: Exploring What It Means To ‘Do’ Mathematics. provides an example of how a new idea introduce itself. SAIDE's observations are not isolated, but every learning community experiences this process - even the United States in the 1960's.