I'm not sure if this is a right forum, but I didn't find better from SE.

I wonder if it is researched how much development of writing systems affects to language compared to languages that are not written, or writing system otherwise developed very late in history?

Could you assume that languages which are solely orally been alive, have kept their vocabulary and structure / grammatics better than those with written? Or is it opposite instead?

I came to this question by reading a book "THE SILENT LANGUAGE" by Edward T. Hall who stated that:

It follows that writing is a symbolization of a symbolization

which suggests that certainly there must be a lot of influence to the language, when people started to write it. Similarly like recursion that adds something to the stack after each iteration.

  • 2
    Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a connection here to history/historiography.
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 29 '15 at 19:33
  • 1
    History looked like best from Philosophy or English language SE sites. But maybe I need to ask this from sci.lang or some other forum outside SE... On the other hand I think there is a strong connection to history on the matter, because answering to such a question must contain history of development of languages.
    – MarkokraM
    Aug 29 '15 at 20:19
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    Maybe you are confused with the fact that there is no way to know how a oral language has evolved, because there was no way of recording it (while texts are preserved through the centuries). That a language is written will make it more static if the best part of users of such language know to write
    – SJuan76
    Aug 29 '15 at 22:16
  • I do expect that subject is researched on fields of aboriginals and tribal people, maybe some references can even be found from written documents from ancient times until 1900's. Also study of sing language, infant language, other mammals languages might give ideas.
    – MarkokraM
    Aug 30 '15 at 6:36

I am not going to produce an exact answer to this question. Two examples I want to include here which may be relevant to the context.

  1. Brajabuli. It is an artificial language not used for everyday conversion. This language has enriched Bengali literature. So a language which is not orally spoken can exists several centuries and develop another language.


  1. Santali. This is a language "belonging to the Austroasiatic family and having a tradition traceable from pre-Aryan days" in India. But its alphabets was created in 1925. So without a writing system a language can exists and grow several thousands of years.



  • 2
    Good point actually, language can exist without being spoken. Many of ancient languages have had similar role, Sumerian maybe the most famous being ceremonial language maybe for 2000 years after largely unspoken.
    – MarkokraM
    Aug 30 '15 at 6:47

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