A Brief History of the Spanish Language

A Brief History of the Spanish Language

A Brief History of the Spanish Language

A Brief History of the Spanish Language

Excerpt

The one constant in our world and our universe is change. Some things change so slowly as to be hardly perceptible, as in the case of geologic change, whereby, over the course of millions of years, a mountain may be reduced to a plain. Other changes are imperceptible because of their rapidity, like the movements of subatomic particles. Luckily for us, changes in human culture occur at a pace that makes them susceptible to detailed observation.

Human culture is constantly changing in every way: in the way people dress or wear their hair; in the technologies they use; in their political, religious, and educational institutions; in the way they treat children and animals; in what and how much they eat; in the way the sexes relate to each other. Some of these changes are easily detectable, as when from year to year hemlines rise and fall or certain dietary fads come into vogue. Other changes are evident only through recourse to historical documents: Only in this way, for example, can we find out about slavery in the Roman Empire or the treatment of children during the Industrial Revolution.

Language can be characterized as the ultimate manifestation of human culture. It represents the foundation, in practical terms, of all other cultural elements, since it is the instrument through which is conveyed the entire body of knowledge that constitutes our customs, laws, and concept of human life. Perhaps because language is so omnipresent in our lives, the subtle yet infinite series of changes that it . . .

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