The more complex the linguistic utterances, the more obvious it becomes that a shared context and a network of relationships must exist.
Linguists have traced vocabulary items back through modern, medieval and ancient language texts and have noted that they stand in a relationship to each other which suggests a family tree structure. Some keywords form a core which remains fixed over hundreds and even thousands of years, while variation also occurs to differentiate the language “families” which we nowadays call Germanic, Romance, etc. When compared with archaeological findings, the changes in the key vocabulary items for religion, family, agriculture, etc. can be mapped on to different social groups which split off and move away, leading eventually to separate nations and languages. Modern English contains relics of these changes when it retains more than one word from different branches of the Indo-European tree, for example, “fatherly” is more personal and close to the Germanic roots of English society, while “paternal” has connotations of a formal, less homely context, and this reflects the alien Latin and French societies which influenced English in later periods of its history. (Denning, Kessler and Leben, 2007, p. 4). The formation of groups and subgroups is a feature of human existence, and the tracing of language variation between groups shows a strong link between language form and society.
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