'Langauge changes according to the needs of it's users' 'Words become obsolete so drop out of usage'
- Semantic change in meaning (amelioration/pejoration, broadening/narrowing)
- Brand names/Inventions
'Influence of other forms of language that come into contact with the English language'
- Foreign borrowings
Random Fluctuation Theory
'Language change occurs due to the changing context of it's users society' -Charles Hocket, 1958
- Natural disasters e.g. 'tsunami'
Linguistic Determinism and Reflectionism
'Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis' Weak version:' Langauge influences thought but does not have complete control over it' (determinist)
However the reflectionist argument is 'Language is shaped by our thoughts, the language we use is thus the reflection of the way we think'
- Political correctness- e.g. racism .. if reflectionism is true, removing racist langauge does not remove racism. It will eventually re-emerge in a different form as the racist thought is still there
'Idea of identifying likely paths thta language change will take, depending on existing linguistic patterns'
- Affix e.g. the addition of the suffix 'age'
Middle English 1150-1500
GREAT VOWEL SHIFT
-Coined by Otto Jesperson -Vowel sounds began to get longer
-Wrote his works in English
PRINTING PRESS, 1476
-William Caxton -First english printer
- contribution to the spread of the language
Early Modern English, 1500-1700
-Expression of new ideas by the inventing, borrowing and adopting of phrases from other languages. Early example of neologisms
TABLE ALPHABETICALL, 1604
-Robert Cawdry -First single language dictionary with 3,000 words. Long S present.
KING JAMES BIBLE, 1611
-First bible to be written in english
- intoduction of new words, and the beginning of standardisation of spellings
Modern English, 1700-1900
SAMUEL JOHNSONS DICTIONARY, 1755
-Nearly 9 years to complete -Most important dictionary until Oxford Dictionary 173 years later, thus very influential
INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR, 1762
-Robert Lowth -Used widely in schools until the early 20th Century
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ACT, 1870
-Compulsory schooling for 5-12 year olds
- significant influence on language and grammar standardisation
Late Modern English
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, 1970'S
-Originated in America at the same time as feminist movement, reached UK by 1990 -Tool for making language 'neutral'
FIRST EMAIL, 1971
FIRST TEXT MESSAGE, 1992
- The effect on lanaguage change. Introduction of neologisms due to gender neutral lexis and 'text message language'
AGAINST LANGUAGE CHANGE
-Belief of a 'right' and 'wrong' language. Variation should be resticted and stanardised rules imposed.NS forms are inferior. -Idea of a 'Golden Age' of english
- John Humphries
- Jean Aitchison describing Prescriptivist approach as 'damp spoon', 'crumbling castle' and 'infectious disease'
ACCEPT LANGUAGE CHANGE
-Accepting of the inevitability of language change so observe and analyse it
- David Crystal