Jean Aitchison Language Change Over Time

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  • Jean Aitchison
    • The Three Metaphors
      • Infectious Disease Syndrome Theory
        • This theory states that 'bad’ or ‘poor’ language spreads like a disease through a population. Changes catch on in social groups and move fast
        • Aitchison suggests that taking after the behaviours of those surrounding us is normal behaviour.
          • Why do people make these changes to their language?
            • To fit into social groups.
            • They adapt their language to that of their role model or someone they admire.
    • Context
      • Born July 3rd  1938
      • Professor of Language and commun-ication in the Faculty of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford.
    • Jean simply believes that language naturally decays and erodes over time. The three metaphors here are three theories which Jean disagrees with.
    • Reasons for Language Change
      • Fashion
      • Foreign Influence
      • Media
    • “…implies that the language of English was gradually and lovingly assembled until it reached a point of maximum splendour at some unspecified time in the past. Yet no year can be found when language achieved some peak of perfection, like a vintage wine.”


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