From: Bill Spight (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 26 Apr 2005 - 17:26:37 GMT
Dear Kate and Chris,
>> I'd suggest that the persistence of many cultural thingies in the
>> US is as a result of the slower pace of cultural evolution for the
>> exact same reasons that genetic evolution occurs more slowly (on
>> average) in large interbreeding populations. Inertia essentially;
>> cf. the persistence of words like 'gotten', which have died out in
>> British English -- a much smaller population in which stochastic
>> effects are more pronounced and change more straightforward.
> This is a really interesting explanation for this sort of example.
> Does it hold beyond particular words like "gotten"? I know there are
> lots more like this, which we in the UK think of as US imports but
> actually originated over here. But is this a principle that can be
> extended over "bigger" meme pools like the US?
I think that maybe this is an example of the general tendency of
emigrant culture to change less than the parent culture. From what I
hear the English dialect that is the closest to Elizabethan English is
spoken in the hills of Tennessee, which are still pretty isolated.
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