Language is always evolving

Self Taught Japanese

One frustrating thing about learning foreign languages is that many aspects of language (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.) can appear to be random or arbitrary. I remember when learning Spanish my teacher used to respond to such comments by saying “One day, a long long time ago, there was a man who sat on a hill and decided on Spanish grammar”.

However, while parts of language, including your own native language, can seem mysterious and arbitrary, thats far from the truth.

Languages, just like the culture they are a part of, evolved over many hundreds of years through many small (and sometimes large) changes. Like with other types of evolution (such as that of biological organisms, if you happen to believe in that), most linguistic changes over time happen for a reason, namely because they serve some purpose that benefits the speakers of that language in some way.

For a moment let’s imagine a time when prehistoric humans didn’t have…

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