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In linguistics, diachrony refers to the description of a language as it changes through time, as opposed to synchrony, which only looks at one moment in time. One could consider diachrony the study of language change (overlapping or even synonymous with historical linguistics).

The process of taking a language and applying the kinds of changes found in natural languages is commonly done by conlangers and is called diachronic conlanging, or colloquially doing diachronics.

The question has now come up about the appropriate tags. It has been suggested to use specifically for diachronic conlanging, in contrast with for whatever other questions may come up regarding the natural change of language. Most of these questions would likely be related to diachronic conlanging anyway (basically any question asked here about how certain changes work, what changes are common, whether certain changes are attested… would be asked with diachronic conlanging in mind), but there might be some interesting questions about how conlangs have changed in the hands (or mouths) of actual users, for which might be more appropriate.

Personally, I don’t really see a need to differentiate in the use of these two tags and would consider them synonyms. If we do not wish to consider them synonymous, I’d like to develop good tag descriptions here.

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I think it would be best to distinguish these two tags here, even if we don't get many questions on the natural changes of conlangs. I don't mind what the tag names are, let's go with whatever would make the most sense to the conlang community.


Here are the proposed tag wiki edits I made (still pending):

:

Language change refers to the natural changes in a language over time as it is used by its speakers

In both natural languages and constructed languages, language change refers to the natural changes in a language over time as it is used by its speakers. Language change is also referred to as diachrony, and its study is called diachronic analysis.

In conlanging, language change can also be simulated, a process called diachronic conlanging or "doing diachronics". Use this tag for questions about the natural changes to a conlang, and the tag for the process of simulating change.

:

Diachronic conlanging refers to the simulation of language change in a conlang

In both natural languages and constructed languages, language change refers to the natural changes in a language over time as it is used by its speakers. Language change is also referred to as diachrony, and its study is called diachronic analysis.

In conlanging, language change can also be simulated, a process called diachronic conlanging or "doing diachronics". Diachronic conlanging can be useful in fictional stories which cover a long time period, or it can be done purely as a creative activity in itself. Use this tag for questions about the process of simulating change in a conlang, and the tag for natural changes to a conlang.

Feedback welcome of course!

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    As mentioned in chat, I dislike the framing of diachronics as a term strictly used in conlanging. I’m fine with the distinction for the tags, but not their descriptions here. I would perhaps say that “In the context of conlanging, langauge change is often referred to as diachronics”, and “This tag is reserved for questions relevant to the use of diachronics in conlanging, i.e. the deliberate simulation of language change” – Adarain Feb 9 '18 at 12:42
  • @Adarain Those are both good options. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '18 at 12:43
  • @Adarain I updated this post, what do you think? If you like it then I'll update my tag wiki edits. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '18 at 12:53
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    Yea that sound good to me – Adarain Feb 9 '18 at 12:55
  • Tag wiki edits updated. We'll need to wait for @RobertCartaino to approve them probably. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '18 at 12:57
  • I’ve got tag wiki approval permissions at this point, I’ll see if they show up for me – Adarain Feb 9 '18 at 12:59
  • @Adarain Even though I updated it, the review you did shows the new text, which makes me think you won't be asked to review it again. Never mind though, we'll get there eventually. – curiousdannii Feb 9 '18 at 13:00
  • Yea, I see the same thing and can’t change my vote. Rather annoying, that. – Adarain Feb 9 '18 at 13:01

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