LANGUAGE CHANGE

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OLD ENGLISH (5TH - 11TH CENTURIES):

  • development of english from the linguistic influence of germanic and viking invaders

MIDDLE ENGLISH (11TH - 14TH CENTURIES):

  • the mixing of french with english after the norman conquest

EARLY MODERN ENGLISH (15TH - 17TH CENTURIES):

  • english discards older forms of word order and word endings and added latin words for new concepts and ideas
  • In particular Samuel Jonson developing his dictionary of English in 1755 which brought in standardisation to not just spellings but also definitions and meanings.
  • In 1476 William Caxton opened a printing press in Westminster.

LATE MODERN ENGLISH (18TH CENTURY - PRESENT):

  • the age of standardised english

INFLUENCES THAT CAN MAKE LANGUAGE CHANGE

MIGRATION, TRAVEL, THE BRITISH EMPIRE AND GLOBALISATION

  • people move to different parts of the world taking their language and culture with them.
  • some languages become absorbed into the local language.
  • english has borrowed extensively lexically to accomodate new foods and cultural experiences.
  • globalisation in the latter part of the 20th century further developed english into a world language.

WAR AND INVASIONS:

  • the norman conquest and the germanic tribes who invaded over a thousand years ago have had a strong impact on how english has developed gramatically, phonologially and lexically.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:

  • 18th and 19th century saw many scientific advancements and so neologisms were needed. Due too the academic prestige of the latin and greek language many words were formed using these languages. 

SOCIAL, IDEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES:

  • Changes in attitudes often result in language alterations. People have different views about certain different social groups. Views have changed about the acceptabilitys of some language use so englihs lexis has accodomodated them. We are politically correct when talking about ethnicity, gender or sexuality. 

THE MEDIA:

  • arguably a more casual, colloquial and speech like register has evlved as media styles have become less formal. 
  • new lexis is often introduced via the media such as acronyms.
  • social networking sites have made personal communication possible.

HOW WE CREATE NEW WORDS:

  • borrow from other languages.
  • we adapt existing words using morphology
  • create completely new ones - coinage

Using distinctive registerss allows you to converge with or diverge from, your audience as you wish, perhaps to gain either overt or covery prestige.

  • OVERT PRESTIGE - offical and standard form of language. Recieved pronounciation and standard english.
  • COVERT PRESTIGE - choose not to adopt a standard dialect.

New words can be created by abbreviating in various ways

  • ACRONYM - intial letters of a phrase sounded as a word
  • INITIALISM - word made from inital letters each pronounced (cd)
  • CLIPPING - new word shortened by an existing word

David crystal sees the popularity of abbreviating words as our liking of linguistic economy. Space constraints and technological limitations are other motivations; saves characters on texts, saves money financially.

words can become archaic or obsolete.

Words formed from existing words - 

Affixation 

  • Adding affix (prefix or suffix) to an existing word - E.g. ‘Racism’ and ‘sexism’

Compounding –

  • Two words are combined in their entirety

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