Why are colonial dialects more conservative?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by killerbee256, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    So I was thinking today, American English, Mexican Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese all conserve features of the mother tongue that have fallen out use in Europe. On a older scale, Portuguese and Spanish are more conservative then Italian in many ways in regards to Latin, Sardinian even more so. So what causes speakers in the home country to change more then isolated colonial forms?
  2. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    I'm not sure your basic premise is correct. American English may have preserved some features of older British English, but it also changed a lot of things that remained the same in "Olde England." Another example is the changes to Spanish in Chile, which was relatively isolated from other Spanish-speaking countries until broadcast media and mass air travel came along. I think it's more a question of different evolutionary paths than of a clear distinction between the country in which a language originated, on the one hand, versus other countries that use it, on the other.
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    I agree with Egmont. Also in case of Sardinian: it's true that it conserves some Latin features not present in other Romnce languages, but on the other hand it'is also innovative in regards to the Italian, for example.

    The same in Spanish: it's true that e.g. the present conjugation (amo, amas, ama, amamos, amáis, aman) is "more Latin" than the Italian (amo, ami, ama, amiamo, amate, amano), but it's also true that the Italian figlio, foglia, molto ... are "more Latin" than the Spanish hijo, hoja, mucho ...
  4. skizzo Senior Member

    porto, portugal
    That isn't true. The portuguese from Northern Portugal is the most conservative of all, for example.
  5. Konanen

    Konanen Member

    Germany, Stuttgart
    Turkish; German
    Next to, what is and will be provided here, I believe, it is a factor of holding onto what you know from your culture, when being in "exile", so to speak.

    Turks having migrated to Germany have preserved the older, strict traditions, whereas Turks, who live in Turkey, have evolved to be more up-to-date with the rest of the world, and change-friendlier.
    I think, you can apply that to language, aswell: Man-kind is more preservative and close-minded amongst strangers.
  6. mochalany Member

    Inglés, Inglaterra
    I don't think that is a very good argument Konanen. When isolated from the motherland you naturally don't acquire the new forms that become prevalent back home, but as francisgranada points out, you pick up lots of new traits because of your constant interaction with an alien culture. Both strands of the language change in different ways and at different speed but I don't see much strong evidence to generalise that the ex-colony will be more conservative.
  7. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Unless they segregate themselves from the society they live in. A good example is the Ladino spoken by Sepharadi Jews in Greece and Turkey before WW2. It preserved features of Spanish that were gone in Spain and Latin America.

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