English Language Language Change Key Terms

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  • Created by: Shauni
  • Created on: 15-03-13 13:02


Making all variations of language conform to the standard language.

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Features of printed text combined with features expected in conversation.

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Diachronic Change:

Refers to the study of historical language change occuring over a span of time.

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Synchronic Change:

Refers to an approach that studies language at a theoretical point in time without considering the historical context.

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The vocabulary of a language.

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Political Correctness:

Words or phrases used to replace those that are deemed offensive.

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Overt Prestige:

Refers to the status speakers get from using the most official and standard form of language. Received Pronunciation and Standard English are accepted as the most prestigious English accent and dialect.

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Covert Prestige:

Refers to the status speakers who choose not to adopt a standard dialect get from a particular group within society.

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No longer having any use.

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A process of linguistic change over a period of time.

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Inoffensive word or phrase used to suggest something less pleasant.

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A speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements.

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An old word or phrase no longer in general spoken or written use.

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Dummy Auxiliary:

The verb 'do' which is used to form questions and negatives or to add emphasis in a statement.

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The online means of showing facial expressions and gestures. 

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Influential Power:

Power used to influence or persuade others.

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Instrumental Power:

Power used to maintain and enforce authority. 

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The leaving out of a phoneme in a group of phonemes clustered together.

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The influence exercised by one sound upon the articulation of another, so that the sounds become more alike.

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The way in which language is becoming increasingly infomal in all areas of society.

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Received Pronunciation (RP):

The prestige form of English pronunciation, sometimes considered as the 'accent' of Standard English.

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When a person's individual patterns become more individualised and less like those of the other person in the conversation. 

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Eye Dialect:

A way of spelling words that suggest a regional or social way of talking. 

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An attitude to language use that makes judgements about what is right and wrong and holds language up to an ideal standard that should be maintained.

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From the French for rebirth, it refers to a cultural movement in European history from the middle of the 14th Century to the 17th century which looked back to the classical age for its inspiration.

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One of the divisions of a book published in parts.

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An attitude to language use that seeks to describe it without making value judgements. 

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