Hi all, hope this doesn't come across as a silly question, but----what is the objective way in which a language is put into a family alongside other languages? In the case of Middle English, for example, how much more Frenchy did it have to be so that it couldn't be considered "English" anymore, and in what aspect of the language? Another case that occurs to me are languages spoken in Southern China. In Northern Hainan, for instance, there's a language called "Lin-gao", or "Ong Be" as it's known in the west. It is classified as a Tai-Kadai language. Over its lifetime, it's been heavily influenced by local Chinese languages like Yue and Min, and most recently Mandarin, in vocabulary, grammar and phonology. Conversely, many southern Chinese languages have received a fair amount of influence from local non-Chinese languages. What are the deciding factors that put these languages into their respective language families? Thanks in advance.