I realize that evolutionary linguistics comprises an entire sub-field of study, but I figure I can narrow it down a bit for this question.
In How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?, I asked about how long it would take for a new language to form, and how much a language would change within 50 years. In a continuation of my worldbuilding experiment, I'd like to fully simulate language evolution.
I'll break this down into a two sections: short-term and long-term. What pieces of a language are more likely to change over a short-term period of time and what pieces are more likely to change over a long-term period of time?
Here are the "pieces" I'm concerned with:
- Conjugations and declensions
- Word order/syntax
- Speech rhythm
- Any other important bits I'm missing (?)
The reason I ask this is because I'd like to work towards a computational simulation of the evolution of a language. I've read about various methods (see, for example, a late section of Bickerton (2007), but I'd like to figure out which bits I should focus on for short-term and long-term simulations.