Language Change and Language Diversity Specific Examples

  • Created by: 4BB13
  • Created on: 06-12-19 11:44

Jean Aitchison

Infectious Disease - Americanisms like 'Take-out' instead of 'Takeaway' and 'Math' instead of 'Maths.'

Damp Spoon - Acronymns in speech like 'BRB' and LOL'.

Crumbling Castle - 'Naive' is a latin word used in English today, meaing lacking experience. 

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Functional Theory

Functional Theory - 'Computer' - you need this word due to the invention of computers.

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Random Fluctuation Theory

Metathesis - When sounds swap around. For example, 'Wasp' used to be 'Waps' and 'Horse' used to be 'Hros'.

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Multicultural London English

Grammar - Using 'Man' as a first person singular pronoun, which could become 'man's when it is combined with verbs like 'to be' and 'to have'. 'Man' can also be used to refer to the second-person or third-person singular like 'Where's man going?'

Lexis - 'Innit' is a reduction of 'Isn't it' which can be used as a tag question or a way to mark a topic or introduce new information.

Lexis - Labels have been generated to label common concrete, abstract and proper nouns', such as 'bruv' (a term for a brothe rof close friend), and 'creps' (shoes or trainers).

Phonology - Th-fronting is used when the 'th' sound in words become an 'f' sound such as 'three' and 'through'. also, in words like 'brother' and 'another' the 'th' becomes a 'v' sound.

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Codeswitching and Joshua Fishman's Domain Theory

When you are hanging out with your friends you are more likely to use slang like 'ship' in terms of shipping a relationship than when you are in a job interview, because you feel more comfortable around your friends and you see the interviewer as having higher prestige than you.

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Queen's English Society

The Queen's English Society advocate Standard English, for example not using acronyms like 'LOL' and 'BRB'.  

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Michael Gove's National Curriculum

In Michael Gove's national curriculum, one of the questions on the SATs tests include identifying a 'fronted adverbial'.

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Speak Good English Movement

On the Speak Good English Movement's website they have examples of idioms for the receivers to learn, for example, 'A Match Made in Heaven'.

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Face-Threatening Acts

  • Making complaints, e.g. someone may criticise the way you dress using words like 'ugly' and 'fat'.
  • Saying 'No'.
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Politeness Theory

Compliments, e.g. 'You look nice', and avoiding disagreement by using strategies like hedging opinions by not going into much detail by just answering 'yes' or 'no'. 

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'You are sacked' = 'We are going to have to let you go'. 

'They are unemployed' = 'They are between jobs'.

'They are homeless' = 'They are on the streets'. 

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Received Pronunciation

Speakers of RP tend to pronounce the 'h' at the beginning of words like 'hurt' and avoid it in words like 'arm'. 

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MLE - 'Man' used as a pronoun. 

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Saying 'like' as a filler. 

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Restricted Code - 'If you are going into town, get Rupert a new April from you-know-where.'

Elaborated Code - If you are going into Bedford, please get a new toy for Rupert the dog from the pet shop (which we can't name because if the dog hears it he will go mad), to replace the one we have come to call 'April', which he has almost chewed to bits. 

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Swales Discourse Community

1) A group of teachers have a goal, which is to teach students.

2) We talk on the phone, we text, we send and reply to emails, etc.

3) A blog is often used for feedback, so is an email and meetings.

4) Discourse Communities possess and employ more traditional genres in the communication of their aims - websites, magazine articles, journal articles and blogs, etc.

5) Artists have a specific lexis used to explain tools, techniques and mediums like 'sculpting'.

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What has influenced the English Language

  • Irish - 'Hooligan', 'Shamrock', 'Whiskey'.
  • African - 'Banana', 'Bongo', 'Coffee', 'Jazz'.
  • Indian - 'Avatar', 'Pyjamas', 'Loot'.
  • Russian Baltic - 'Vodka'.
  • French - 'Burisicott' = 'Bowsaquotte'.
  • Caribbean - 'Punch'. 
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Varities of English - Phonology

Indian English:

  • Drop the 'ed' ending after /k/ and /t/ (e.g. walked will become walk).
  • Sometimes 'a' was used in front of vowel-intitial words, instead of 'an'. 
  • In some regions, /v/ and /w/ are not distinguished. (e.g. 'volleyball' is the same as 'wolleyball'. 

Singapore English:

  • Each syllable is pronounced for the same amount of time.
  • Relaxed pronunciation of words (E.g. 'P' becomes 'B'). 
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Varities of English - Semantics

Australian English:

  • Most of the Australian lexis has fone through semantic broadening.
  • For example:
  • English = 'Crazy', Australian = 'Bonkers.'
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Varities of English - Lexis

New Zealand English:

  • New Zealand has its own unique words and phrases which derived entirely from New Zealand and weren't borrowed from any other languages. 
  • Use a distinctive feature known as hypocorism, which is when words are shortened or divided and add an ending of 'ie' or 'o'. 
  • For example:
  • 'Heaps' = 'Lots of Something' and 'Puckerood' = 'Broken'. 

North American English:

  • British word = 'Pavement', North American word = 'Sidewalk'. 
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Varities of English - Grammar

North American English:

  • Small differences between the way in which North Americans spell words compared to British words. 
  • For example - The dropping of the letter 'u' in 'Color', 'Honor' and 'Labor'. 

Caribbean English:

  • Zero past tense marker - Verbs are left unmarked fo tense, although other signals give the clues about the time of the event. 'I work on that job for a few months'. 
  • Zero plural marker - Nouns are left unmarked in terms of plurals. 'My relative, they were involved in this community association business'. 
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Plosives - /p/, /b/.

Fricatives - /f/, /v/.

Affricatives - /d3/.

Approximants - /w/, /j/.

Laterals (Liquids) - /l/, /r/.

Nasals - /m/, /n/. 

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Phoneme - /p/.

Digraph - /Ch/.

Trigraph - /air/. 

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Lexical Changes

Lexical Change - The arrival and formation of new words in the language. 


Conversion - When a word changes word class. E.g. 'Google' has changed from noun to verb. 

Borrowing - When we take words from different languages. E.g. Food like 'gateaux' and 'sorbet'.

Compounding - Joining two existing words together, without changing the words. E.g. 'daydream' and 'goodnight'.

Acronym - Creating a new word using abbreviation. You say it as if it is a word. E.g. 'LOL' and 'NASA'. 

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Semantic Changes

Semantic Change - The change in the meaning of words already existing in the language.


Broadening - When a word spreads or broadens its meaning. E.g. 'Rubbish'.

Narrowing - Word uses to have many meanings, but now it had a specific one. E.g. 'Wife' meant 'Woman' in Old English.

Amelioration - When a word moves from a more negative meaning to a positive meaning. E.g. 'Sick'.

Pejoration - When a word moves from a more positive meaning to a negative meaning. E.g. 'Gay' and 'Villain'.  

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