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A2 English Language Change
quick study guide

Key words

Acronym A word formed from the initial letters of a
name e.g. SCUBA

Affixation Adding an affix like `ed' or `s'

Amelioration Word meaning changes from something bad
to something good

Archaic Old/oldfashioned

Blend Two words are combined (oxbridge = oxford…

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contracted forms such as isn't and haven't
but also slang such as `ight, or even `iced
cream which became ice cream')

Initialism Same as acronym but you pronounce the
letters like `CD' or `RSPCA'

Syntax inversion Changes order of words in a sentence

Obsolete A word that is no longer…

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Theorist: Ferdinand de Saussure: French linguistic and semiologist. Said language changed
because he saw language as having 2 things: the signifier and the signified. Signifier:cat,
signified: independent, furry, cunning, playful whereas in the 18th century while the signifier
stays the same, the signified is: wicked, nasty, evil, sinful












Why does…

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acronyms and initialisms come from military, medical, technology or speed in communication, or
tabloids aka `WAG' wives and girlfriends (of footballers). David Crystal says this is because we
like `linguistic economy' and saving time.

changes through: metaphors, euphemisms and idioms.

Key lexical changes across Late Modern English


Century Neologisms Influence…

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used at the end of a word. distinguish phonologically, no
idiosyncratic spelling. need for different grapheme,
printing pages had to be
individually set and
dictionaries.

19 More consistent and availability and number of
standardised spelling dictionaries increased. drive
for more literate society.
schooling offered to all
children.

20/21 standardised spelling…

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italics for stress
drop cap (archaic)
headline
size of print

phonology
omission
assimilation
informalisation
RP
Giles' accommodation theory divergence (posh speech) convergence (normal speech)


THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN EXAMS + WRITE
ABOUT

I basically went through all the mark schemes and this is the stuff they want you…

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formal lexis
archaic lexis
compound words
contractions
neologisms
initialisms/acronyms

Graphology
typefaces
fonts
mix of upper and lower case
italics, bold
images

Discourse structure
lists numbers, bullet points
paragraphs
discourse markers
reported speech
chronological
cohesion

Orthography
long s
capital letters
punctuation
elision
spelling (americanisations)
ampersands `&'

AO2 theories and concepts /16…

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Giles' accommodation theory, convergence and divergence
Prescriptivists/descriptivists


AO3 Context /8

Context of production
Context of reception
GASP (genre, audience, subject, purpose)
Globalisation
Social change
Technological developments
Gender of author
Mode/multimodality
Social class


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