AR

BE

BG

BN

BS

CA

CS

DE

EL

EM

EN

EO

ES

ET

FA

FI

FR

HE

HR

HU

ID

IT

JA

KA

KN

KO

LT

LV

MR

NL

NN

PA

PL

PT

PX

RO

RU

SK

SR

SV

UK

VI

ZH

Only strong words survive!

Rarely used words change more often than words that are used often. That could be due to the laws of evolution. Common genes change less in the course of time. They are more stable in their form. And apparently the same is true for words! English verbs were evaluated for a study. In it, current forms of the verbs were compared to old forms. In English, the ten most common verbs are irregular. Most other verbs are regular. But in the Middle Ages, most verbs were still irregular. So irregular verbs that were rarely used became regular verbs. In 300 years, English will have hardly any remaining irregular verbs. Other studies also show that languages are selected like genes. Researchers compared common words from different languages. In the process they chose similar words that mean the same thing. An example of this are the words: water, Wasser, vatten. These words have the same root and therefore closely resemble one another. Since they are essential words, they are used frequently in all languages. In this way, they are able to maintain their form – and remain similar today. Less essential words change much faster. Rather, they are replaced by other words. Rarely used words differentiate themselves in this way in different languages. Why rarely used words change remains unclear. It's possible that they are often used incorrectly or are mispronounced. This is due to the fact that speakers aren't familiar with them. But it could be that essential words must always be the same. Because only then can they be understood correctly. And words are there to be understood…

text before next text

© Copyright Goethe Verlag GmbH 2018. All rights reserved.