Language Change

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  • Language Change - Theories
    • Jean Aitcheson theories
      • Crumbling castle view
        • language was perfect at one point in time
        • now is crumbling
        • Needs to be preserved
      • Damp Spoon theory
        • language is changing due to increasing laziness
      • Infectious disease theory
        • catch changes from those around us
        • people pick up changes as want to be included in social groups
        • social prestige and change in society
        • in formalisation of mass communication
    • Language Decay
      • 18th centaury - language is decaying
      • decay due to speakers of language increasingly careless about speech
        • modern speakers are 'decadent' as allowed language to decay into 'simple' language
      • highly subjective - personal opinions not facts
      • linguists moved beyond 18th centaury theory of language decay
    • Natural Law
      • late 19th centaury
      • natural process by neogrammarians
      • stated that changes are automatic and mechanical
        • cannot be observed or controlled by speakers of language
          • sound like 'single' to human ear is actually collection of familiar sounds - low level deviation
      • no reinforment for theory
        • patched theory - adding reasons to reinforce deviation of simplification  of sounds or children learning speech of parents wrong
    • Social Bonding
      • during this centaury is a social one - American linguist - William Labov
      • he found small population pronounce same vowel differently to rest of population
      • signal for social and cultural identity
  • language was perfect at one point in time


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