Author Topic: Tower of Babel  (Read 1958 times)

Offline MrChiLambda

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Tower of Babel
« on: June 01, 2015, 05:01:42 AM »
Is there any truth to this concept where people at one point in time used languages which divided them and at the same time were subsets of larger languages designed to reveal the true intent of slaves to slave masters?

I can find sparse historical evidence that some languages shares migratory similarities with a small subset of words that could be considered required for master to slave communications, such as a concubine.

In a lesser evil style of thinking, you can clearly see languages share words required for trading transactions in market places.

I am wondering, are there any languages that are subdivisions or a greater language that were cast over different sections of people with the sole intent of dividing people?

Perhaps there was a large ancient slavic language which has since disappeared, but several smaller languages in adjacent areas all branch from a common unknown language?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1795
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: Tower of Babel
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2015, 11:30:39 PM »
Not really. There are plenty of cases where languages split into dialects (then separate languages) for social reasons. Probably all cases of dialect/language split can be considered this. But specifically to separate social groups with some sort of intent? I don't know.

There are instances where different varieties (usually not just dialects) are used to distinguish social groups. For example, there might an elite way of speaking and a common people way of speaking. The examples that come to mind involve pidgins/creoles, which sometimes originate in the absence of extensive input of the superstrate (prestige) language, possibly intentionally so that the locals can't understand what the (invading) 'government' is doing. But it's more complicated than just obscuring communication between groups.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.