When is a word a word? And other questions.

I’m particularly interested in the taxonomical value of which language a word belongs to. Is that meaningful?

I mean, of the major language groups used today, how many words have been created, merged, and absorbed?

And when a word “comes from” a language, what are we talking about? Common usage/contemporary authority pronouncement?

These are questions I’ve had over the years, but now that I teach words, and often know where they, ahem, come from, I’m having a more difficult time than ever to claim something is a word or not, or is English, etc.

Discuss! I bet at least two of you studied this and know terms for these concepts! :slight_smile:

How much does language change? Is English basically the same since I was born? How far back could I go before English is not as I know it?

It might be argued that for some languages this is a solved problem; though it may be more accurate to say some cultures try to treat this as if it is solved.