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Why do languages lose inflections? Such as Latin and Old English.nt

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 01:21 PM
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Why do languages lose inflections? Such as Latin and Old English.nt
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 10:06 PM
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1. I think it mainly happens
as the languages spread out and are spoken by more people. Languages spoken by relatively small populations in relatively small geographical areas tend to hang on to the inflections.

But when a language like Latin or Old English starts being used by non-Latin or Old English speakers, they'll often simplify it as much as possible, which, oddly enough, tends to result in stripping off as any endings as possible.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-18-09 12:25 AM
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2. It's a cyclical phenomenon.
Grammatical words (prepositions, helper verbs, pronouns, adverbs, etc.) become slurred, weakened, and then stuck onto the end of words to become affixes. Sound change eventually screws up the boundaries between affixes, producing complex inflectional systems. These systems are then destroyed by further sound change and are replaced by new grammar words
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