Language Change Theorists

All theorists relating to the A2 English Language Change exam - 2014

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  • Created by: Jessica
  • Created on: 06-05-14 14:10
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  • Language Change Theorists
    • Suzanne Romaine '98 - reason for change
      • Internal - formation of new words and the influence of dictionaries etc. Language making more sense, what is happening inside of the language
      • External - the changing social contexts, language as an on-going process and changing
    • Donald Mackinnon '96 - categories for attitudes people have to language use - attitudes towards change
      • Incorrect OR Correct
      • Pleasant OR Ugly
      • Socially acceptable OR Socially unacceptable
      • Useful OR Unuseful
      • Appropriate in context OR Inappropriate in context
      • Morally acceptable OR Morally unacceptable (political correctness: conscious process, never clear cut and very context dependent, normally a negative thing.)
    • Narrow Theorists
      • Culture
        • Trudgill
          • Peter Trudgill's 1970's research into language and social class showed differences between men and women. He found that individuals would drop the 'g' in an -ing ending word, men were more likely to do this as women would try to adopt a higher prestige as men would adopt a low prestige to appear 'tough' or 'down to earth'.
        • Sapir Whorf
          • The principle of linguistic relativity holds the structure of a language affects the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualise their world, i.e. their world view. Perception affects language. This was revamped by Lackoff with relation to cultural metaphors, e.g. up is good and down in bad in Christianity.
      • Identity
        • Labov
          • Labov concluded that the centralisation of the (ay) and (aw) diphthongs was marked by the social attitudes of people, closely linked to the fact that people had moved to the mainland because of economic pressure. People would therefore change their speech by emphasising the (ay) and (aw) diphthongs to keep the distance from the mainland. Labov observed speech is linked to social attitudes and linguistic change of several groups in society.
      • Pronunciation
        • Jean Aitchison - 4 stages of phonological change based on Labov
          • 1. The speech of a social group begins to differ from the pronunciation of the area in which they live
          • 2. A second social group begins - possibly unconsciously - to imitate the speech of the first group.
          • 3. The new pronunciation becomes established among the second group - as part of their usual accent.
          • 4. A third social group now begins to model itself on the second group, and the process repeats itself.
        • Kerswill and Williams - these linguists notes that young people began to lose their original dialects and started using Estuary English. Dialect levelling is where regional dialects eventually level out to one that is considered the most socially desirable and prestigious.
          • - Using a 'ch' sound: Chuesday (Tuesday)
          • Occasional use of 'th' fronting (fick for thick)
          • 'L' vocalisation (miwk for milk)
          • Glottal stopping/medial 't' elision
          • Definitely (defintly)


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