Internet Industry Search Engine

Food innovations changed our mouths, which in turn changed our languages
See More From:

Mar 14, 2019 5:48 PM 1+ week ago

Soft grains, dairy, and preserved food may have changed our mouths--and ultimately our languages.

Something deep in the history of the German language pulled speech sounds toward hisses rather than pops. Words like that and ship end with a small popping sound in English, Dutch, and other Germanic languages--but in German, they end in softer s and f sounds--dass, Schiff. Centuries ago, before German was even German, this change was already underway, an example of one of the many small shifts that ends up separating a language from its close cousins and sending it off as its own distinct tongue.

How does change like this happen? One of the major reasons is speech efficiency. Speakers are constantly walking a tightrope between being understood and making speech as easy as possible--over time, this tension pulls languages in new directions. But if efficiency pushed German speakers in this direction, why not Dutch speakers, too? That is, if two languages share a given ...

Read More

Search Builder

(Click to add to search box)
colleagues Caleb Everett  word symphony  dairy products  Sean Roberts  computer simulations  m sound  language family  food technology  sound shift  language histories  food utensils  sound changes  Ars Technica  science reporter  jaw development  Conde Nast  Soft grains  German language  ship end  speech efficiency  German speakers  Dutch speakers  Science today  records Show Nothing  lives IBM researchers  Detaches Us  Food Clues  Unknown Ancestors  Genome Uber  Changed Galaxy  Maine Changed  Forfeiture Abuse  voice assistant  

**Content contained on this site is provided on an “as is” basis. 4Internet, LLC makes no commitments regarding the content and does not review it, so don't assume that it's been reviewed. What you see here may not be accurate and should not be relied upon. The content does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of 4Internet, LLC. You use this service and everything you see here at your own risk. Content displayed may be subject to copyright. Content is removed on a case by case basis. To request that content be removed, contact us using the following form: Contact Us.