English Language: Language Change AQA

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Language Change
The future of English language is either Prescriptive or Descriptive:
Prescriptivism ­ An attitude to language use that makes judgements about what is
right or wrong, and holds language up to an ideal standard that should be
Descriptivism ­ An attitude to language use that seeks to describe it without making
value judgements
English has achieved a world-wide prominence that is quite unique. The future of English
Language depends on how the tension between these two attitudes will be resolved. The
two main issues/attitudes which raise a problem in terms of the future of English:
Internationalism ­ This issue/attitude implies intelligibility. If the reason for any
nation wishing to promote English is to give it access to what the broader
English-speaking world has to offer, then it is crucial for its people to be able to
understand the English of that world ­ and to be understood in their turn.
Internationalism demands an agreed standard in grammar, lexis, spelling,
pronunciation and conventions of use.
Identity ­ his attitude/issue implies individuality. If a nation wishes to preserve its
uniqueness or to establish its presence, and to avoid being an anonymous ingredient
in a cultural melting-pot, then it must search for ways of expressing its difference
from the rest of the world. Flags, uniforms and other such symbols have their place
but nothing will be so naturally and universally present as a national language. In the
context of English, Identity demands linguistical distinctiveness in grammar, lexis,
spelling, pronunciation and the conventions of language use.
Bidialectalism ­ some linguists believe the future of English is most likely to involve a
compromise between disintegration an absolute uniformity and so the ability to use two
dialects of the same language will remain and develop. This is a compromise between the
Internationalism and Identity attitudes towards the future of the English Language.
The Great Vowel Shift was a major change in pronunciation of the English Language. This
occurred in England between 1350 and 1500. Otto Jespersen coined the term. The GVS only
affected the long vowels.
Lexical Change
Borrowings / Loan Words ­ words we have `borrowed' from another language.
French, Greek and Latin words may form a large portion of the loan words that are
part of the English Language. The media sometimes bring in words, especially from
America as a lot of TV shows and music are imported from there. Another way loan
words come in is through products and inventions. `Karaoke' machines brought us this
Japanese word, with Russia bringing us words like `Vodka'. Many loan words are
related to food ­ `Korma', `Sushi' and `Feta'.
Initialism ­ This is an extreme clipping. Happens when the first letters of words are
taken in order to make a new word. However, when this happens each letter is
pronounced on its own ­ `BBC' and `RSPCA'. Each letter represents one word.
Coinage / Neologism ­ the creation of new words.
Compounds ­ neo-classical compounds are words which partly derive from Latin or
Greek background. `Astro' meaning star and `Nautes' meaning sailor.

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Modern Compounds ­ combining of separate words to create a new word,
sometimes using a hyphen to link them ­ `carbon-footprint'
Eponym ­ the name of a person after whom something is named ­ `Sandwich'
Proprietary names ­ The name given to a product by one organisation becomes the
commonly used name for the same product ­ `Hoover' and `Tampax'.
Acronym ­ a lexicalised word made up from the initial letters of a phrase ­ sounded
as a word.…read more

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Irregular verbs do not take the `-ed' ending for the past simple tense and the past participle
forms. The Past simple tense is used for past actions that happened at a specific time. The
Past participle is formed by adding `-ed' to the base form, unless it is an irregular verb. In
late modern English (since 17th Century) the stem vowel changed in irregular verbs (middle
vowel of irregular verbs changed instead of using `-ed' ­ spake became spoke).…read more

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The practice of using the extended f form of the
sound /s/ when it occurred in the middle of words persisted well into the 18t century.
In the 17th century upper-case letters were often used for all nouns as well as at beginnings
of sentences, but the 18th century grammarians restricted their use. Some uncertainty and
variation of practice remains today. From the 18t century to PDE, nouns can be capitalised for
emphasis. Pre 16th century texts are punctuated very differently.…read more

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Caxton the Printer- Started standardisation, the language needed uniformity in order
to make more money from books.…read more

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Black Civil Rights Movement in America- Fading of Politically Incorrect words, though
some people may have deliberately used non-PC words to rebel Need
1960 More Liberation and opportunity for women emerging.
1970 Educational opportunity for girls improving provided career opportunities
1972 School Leaving Age: 16- Much greater interest in education Need
1980 Rap- More Americanisms, associated with youth culture Fashion
1981 Home Computers Launch- Neologisms: Morphological Processes: blending,
compounding.…read more


Bethany Cunningham

These are great, precise notes!


Amazing notes!


Thank you for these! 


really helpful thank you ! 

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