RE: This message will self-destruct

Robert S. Thau (
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 09:27:35 -0400 (EDT)

Eugene Leitl writes:
> Gavin Thomas Nicol writes:
> > Depends on the language. Ancient Japanese is still fairly intelligible to
> > modern day Japanese, for example.
> Sure, and spoken Icelandic has changed even less. Ideogram scripts
> hold the record here: I think Chinese holds the record here.

Although *spoken* Chinese has obviously varied (the written language
is the same across China, but IIRC, there are mulitple, mutually
unintelligble spoken "dialects").

Hmmm... Hebrew has been preserved in large measure because there are
texts in the language which were preserved largely unaltered, and
which were of interest to a population with citicial mass (although
Hebrew was, for quite a few centuries, of mainly liturgical interest,
and not much used in daily life). Are there any texts which played a
similar role for the other languages, or are there other
preservationist forces at work?