Language Change Theorists


Lynne Truss


Children are not being taught to write properly therefore they are unable tot express their views

Punctuation is not being taught properly

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David Crystal


·       Have to understand words before you are able to abbreviate.

o   Only most literate are able to manipulate language.

·       Technology added new dimension - texting has a negligible effect on language.

·       Use of abbreviations & initialisms in texting is used in order to not waste characters.

·       Spelling made by people.

o   Urban & online dictionaries reflect popular choices.

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Jean Aitchison

Descriptivist - language is inevitably going to change

"change is one thing, decay is another" - "real 'rules' need to be distinguished from artificially imposed ones"

MYTH 1 = Crumbling Castle

English was once a great castle, over time it has decayed + crumbled

JA = Never a time the lang has reached perfection - always had flaws - lang constantly changing + growing

MYTH 2 = Damp Spoon

'bad Eng' sticks to people who are lazy - laziness causes langauge chnage

JA = People adapt their lang to fit with the situation

MYTH 3 = Infectious Disease

'Bad English' is like a horrible disease that spreads from person to person

JA = People pick up changes because they want to

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Fiona McPherson


Creating new words can be seen as intelligent + intellectual

Addition of multiple slang words show creative use of English

New words are expanding the langauge

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James Milroy

There has never been a 'Golden Age' for language - language has never been in a perfect form

There may be a decline in language because young people are not being taught it properly

Spoken language is not in decline

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Howard Giles

Matched Guise Test

looked at 3 main parameters - status, personality + persuasiveness


Status = RP

Personality = RP (self-confident, intelligent, ambitious, cold + ruthless) Northern (honest, reliable, generous, sincere, warm + humorous)

Persuasiveness = Had to conduct 'Howard Giles Capital Punishment experiment'

'Howard Giles Capital Punishment experiment'

RP = more prestigious

Regional = more persuasive

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Peter Trudgill

'Norwich study'

Studied final consonant in words like 'walking and 'talking'

Standard British English - pronounced -ng

Nowich - pronouned -n


-n type forms more common in lower classes

Non-standard form more common in men's speech

Higher classes pronounce -ng

Women use more prestigious pronunciation + appeared to be more concerned about appearing to use more standard forms even when they didn't

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Basil Bernstein

Elaborated and restricted code

Elaborated code = spells everything out - necessary so that everyone can understand it. It has to elaborate bc the circumstances do not allow speakers to condense

Restricted code = context is needed in order to understand

If you can't handle elaborated code, yout are not going to suceed in the educational system

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