Video Fix: How languages evolve


This week’s Video Fix is about how languages change and form interconnected families, a topic under constant scholarly scrutiny. Do you know how linguists track the evolution of languages?

How language evolves

The video that we are featuring in today’s Video Fix addresses one of the issues that has fascinated academics from various fields, ranging from Anthropology to Linguistics: the question of how languages change and evolve and how this evolution can be traced back in time in a reliable way.

Through this TED-Ed lesson Alex Gendler (Educator) and Igor Coric (Director) try to briefly explain what are the basic notions that are used to understand how language changes over time, how they relate, and how we can identify the different language families as opposed to simple “contamination” as a result of the borrowing of terms.

Furthermore, Gendler and Coric also briefly explain what is the criteria applied to differentiate between languages and dialects, and how these categories affect the count of the total number of languages said to be spoken in the World.

We invite you to watch/listen to the video and let us know what you think. Listen carefully since there is a test that you must complete in the end!

Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)


  •  Gendler, Alex and Coric, Igor (n.d.) “How languages evolve”, TED Ed. Available at: (Accessed 15 May 2017)