Within the interview Simon mentions that certain languages are considered to have more ‘grammar’ than others based on how closely they approximate the structure of Latin. For one thing, it seems odd that the Romance languages (i.e. those closest in affiliation with Latin) have lost such a large portion of their ‘grammar.’ The loss of the Latin declensions comes to mind immediately. Simon, do you think, as language development goes, that this was a boon to the Romance languages in that learning became somewhat simplified? Is there a noticeable drawback to having a language with less ‘grammar’ or is this a case of a new easier system working as well as the old? How has your experience with ‘grammar’ intensive languages (e.g. German, Russian) compared with your studies of languages of less ‘grammar’ (e.g. French)?
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