For now, I named it . feels better. But I'm almost sure there's established term for this, which I don't know. Should I change the tag name? It's early enough to do this easily.

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    I see language history as a bigger concept that includes language change. It also includes etymology, for example. I believe both tags could have their uses.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 20:22
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    @JoonasIlmavirta Etymology tracks the evolution of a single word, right? I could see value in also having a tag that refers to broader "trend changes" in the language, such as changes in declension/conjugation forms. HDE's proposed 'language-evolution' tag appeals.
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:12
  • @Brian, I find the language-evolution badge appealing as well, but it could also be useful to have some more specific badges in addition to a wider badge covering all change. It takes a while to see what kinds of badges would be actually useful, so I don't have a strong opinion yet.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:20
  • @JoonasIlmavirta <nod>, I'm definitely favor of a "reserve judgment and refactor tags as the site grows" approach here.
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:21
  • Could we have you accept the most upvoted answer? At this point, it seems pretty well decided.
    – Nic
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 4:29
  • @QPaysTaxes: accepted. The other one can become a synonym later.
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 6:51

2 Answers 2


Evolutionary linguistics is a discipline that should cover this, so I suggest we use .

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    I believe that evolutionary linguistics deals more with how languages come to be than with how they change over time. Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 16:04

The term linguists use, which may be the official one you're looking for, is "diachronic change." That may be a little jargony for non-linguist users, though. (It occurs as part of the field of study known as "diachronic linguistics" or "historical linguistics." But I think those would be worse, as well as not in fact accurate.)

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