by Carlos Carrion Torres - Vitoria ES - Brazil
When one considers Indo-European languages, especially those which are properly European, one can perceive that there are many similarities among them. These similarities surely are due to their roots in the very distant past of civilized mankind, going back to the early Sanskrit language.
With the exception of a few cases, modern words for things, feelings, beings and thoughts that are very primitive, basic, ancient, well known and easily perceived by mankind are very simple and quite short.
Those words are nowadays short and simple and they were probably also that short since their ancient origin.
Even considering that most of the words in European languages with either simple or sophisticated meanings, are monosyllabic or bisyllabic, there is some pattern that confirms that nouns for well known things are generally shorter.
That perception is easy, even without any further deeper research.
Also, frequently-used verbs with simple, ancient meanings, which express feelings, behaviors and actions are usually short.
Almost all of these verbs are also very irregular, for example auxiliary and modal verbs;
Irregularity is quite obvious, because those verbs can be considered as "natural" ones. Rules to standardize languages came only later, when talking was systematized by people.
Why are such word short? This seems quite obvious: first things comes first. Primary languages first used most of possibilities of monosyllabic or bisyllabic sounds. When most sophisticated and complicated subjects required new words, there were few possibilities left for monosyllabic or bisyllabic words. So longer words were necessary.
Another easily realized language pattern, that has also obvious roots, is that there are more differences among words with the same meaning in different languages for ancient and traditional stuff, than for very recent, modern, technological, medical, nouns.
Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Being and becoming bilingual | Arabic | Basque | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Other topics | Spoof articles | How to submit an article
Why not share this page:
If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.
Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.