Simplifications found in all languages
An international team of researchers headed by linguist Balthasar Bickel from the University of Zurich conducted statistical analyses of the case systems in more than 600 languages and recorded the changes over time. They then tested these adaptations experimentally in test subjects, measuring the brain flows that become active during language comprehension. The scientists were therefore able to demonstrate that the brain activity is stronger for complex case constructions than for simple ones.
"Certain case constructions tax the brain more, which is why they are eventually omitted from languages all over the world -- independently of the structural properties of the languages or socio-historical factors," explains Bickel, a professor of general linguistics at the University of Zurich. In other words, biological processes are also instrumental in grammatical changes. "Our findings pave the way for further studies on the origin and development of human language and a better understanding of speech disorders."
Science Daily. 2015. “Grammar: Eventually the brain opts for the easy route”. Science Daily. Posted: August 13, 2015. Available online: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150813092822.htm