Language Evolves, but Kinship Words Like "Uncle" and "Grandchild" are Surprisingly Durable

Why certain terms having to do with the basics of life are less prone to linguistic change than others.

Azerbaijani Jews play play dominoes at the Aqsaqal club in Qrmz Qsb on September 28, 2016. Oleksandr Rupeta/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Azerbaijani Jews play play dominoes at the Aqsaqal club in Qrmz Qsb on September 28, 2016. Oleksandr Rupeta/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Observation
Nov. 23 2016
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.


Got a question for Philologos? Ask him directly at philologos@mosaicmagazine.com.

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More about: History & Ideas, Indo-European, Language, Yiddish