A2 English Language: Language Change

  • Created by: Ashley2K
  • Created on: 19-04-17 17:18
What are the 7 reasons for language change?
Individuals, technology, society, culture, science, trade & globalization.
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How does technology cause language change?
New forms of media such as the internet create a need for new words, for new concepts.
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How does society cause language change?
Cultural changes and shifts in society's views can change the way words are used, e.g. through pejoration or amelioration in order to achieve political correctness.
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How does culture cause language change?
Foreign influences such as America can influence the language we use through film & literature.
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How does science cause language change?
New scientific inventions create a demand for a new word.
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How do travel, trade and colonization create language change?
Due to people from different backgrounds conversing, new and shared lexis is required to communicate.
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How does globalization cause language change?
English is widely accepted as the language for trade and business, as a result of this new forms of the language are created such as "Spanglish"
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How does Prescriptivism view language change?
The Prescriptivist movement wants language to remain the same and refrain from change.
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How does Descriptivism view language change?
The movement accepts language change and observes the reasons why rather than criticizing the changes.
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Give two examples for taboo in the modern English language.
1. Used for comedic effect and as an intensifier 2. Used as a filler word to describe pain and displeasure
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What is coinage?
The creation of new words.
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What are neologisms?
The new words themselves.
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Define borrowing.
Simply 'borrowing' a word from another language
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What does scientific progress cause?
The creation of new words for these new creations.
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What is affixation?
When new prefixes or suffixes are added to existing words.
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What is compounding?
The process of combining two separate words to form one new word.
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What is blending?
When two words are merged to form one new word.
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What is conversion?
When an existing word changes class e.g. words that were nouns become verbs. e.g. 'text' became 'to text'
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What is clipping?
Dropping one or more syllables creating an abbreviation e.g. 'information' becomes 'info'
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What is initialism?
Where the first letter of the word stands for the word itself e.g 'BBC'
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What are acronyms?
Initial letters of the word combine to create a new word e.g. 'WAGS'
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What are archaisms?
Words that are no longer used in modern language e.g. durst (meaning dare)
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What is amelioration?
When a word develops a more positive meaning.
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What is pejoration
Where a word develops a more negative meaning.
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What is weakening?
When a word makes less of an impact that it did in the past e.g. terrible used to mean cause terror but now it means something is very bad.
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What is expansion?
Where a word that has a specific meaning can develop a more broader meaning e.g. bird used to mean young bird now it refers to birds of all ages.
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What is restriction?
A word with general meaning can develop a more specific meaning e.g. meat used to mean food in general now it means animal flesh.
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What is political correctness?
This removes words and phrases with negative connotations e.g. half cast is no longer politically correct and has been replaced with mixed race.
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What is a metaphor?
Describing something as though they were something else e.g high and dry.
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What is an idiom?
A phrase that doesn't make sense if you interpret it literally e.g. it's raining cats and dogs.
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What are euphemisms?
The use of alternative words to avoid offending someone or make it appear less unpleasant e.g. death - kicking the bucket.
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What is a cliche?
When idioms are used a lot and become overused phrases which fail to excite the imagination e.g. No 'I' in team.
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How has the use of double negatives changed from middle to modern English?
Today double negatives are non standard whereas in middle English they were used for emphasis
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Give two examples of intonation patterns.
1. Intonation rises when people ask questions 2. Uptalk intonation rises when you’re making a statement.
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Give two potential explanations for these intonation patterns.
1. One theory is that it has been picked up from Australian intonation patterns 2. People might use it so they don’t sound aggressive.
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What is received pronunciation?
A formal version of the English pronunciation, it first emerged in the 20th century and caused regional accents seem socially inferior
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When did the letter "U" emerge and what was its predecessor?
The letter ‘U’ first appeared in 10th century, before ‘v’ was used instead.
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When did the letter "J" emerge and what was its predecessor?
The letter ‘J’ appeared in the 15th century, before ‘I’ was used instead
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What is orphography?
The study of letters and the rules of spelling in language.
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Give two key orthographical changes across late modern English.
1. Spelling became more registered even though it is still idiosyncratic 2. Standardized spelling rules.
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Give two reasons for these changes.
1. Dictionaries led to the standardization of spelling. 2. Educational practices and governmental intervention.
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What are the two types of language change?
Diachronic change and synchronic change.
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What is diachronic change?
Studying the changes that have occured in language over a period of time e.g. comparing car adverts from 1950 to 2010.
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What is synchronic change?
The process of examining language at a particular period in time. For example, comparing a conversation between a pupil and teacher to a conversation between two pupils.
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Give 4 examples ways in which language is standardized.
1. Spelling, through dictionaries and spell checkers. 2. Graphology, through printing, handwriting styles and uniformity. 3. Grammar, through 18th century grammar books 4. Lexis and semantics, through dictionaries.
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What is the importance of Johnson's 1755 dictionary when discussing standardization of lexis and semantics?
It was the most influential dictionary at the time and was used as a standard reference point.
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What are the two functions of language?
1. Functions of formality. 2. Functions of informality.
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What is the function of formality?
Where language is used to create and maintain a professional distance.
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What is the function of informality?
Using language to build and maintain social bonds/relationships to present yourself as more accessible to others of an equal status.
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What is the prestige form?
Well established standard forms of language that are associated with powerful social groups: law, education and the government.
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What is covert prestige form?
A form of prestige that is less standard, in order to stay in touch with society and make links and connections with people.
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Why is Lakoff's study useful when discussing language change?
The suggestion that at the time she suggested women are inferior to men and as a result speak differently may be an example of social change and the effects it can have on language.
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What were some of Lakoff's examples of women speaking differently to men?
1. Tag questions 2. hedges 3. lack of taboo
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Describe the pre-1st century English language.
The Celts were the first inhabitants of England, few words survive in modern English, a few examples include place names such as Leeds, York & Avon.
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Describe the 1st-5th century English language.
Roman invasion in England influenced language, there was some influence from Latin, words from this time period include street, port. wine and wall.
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Describe 5th-8th century English language.
Invasion of the Anglo-Saxon Germanic tribes lead to the adoption of Christianity and the Latin alphabet was introduced and this was because the Church suggested it was for the elite.
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Describe the 8th-11th century English language.
Viking invasion of England, although the Germanic and Viking dialect was similar, the grammar was different. Examples of language originating at this time were get, take, awkward, angry, they and she.
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Describe the 11th-14th century English language.
Norman invasion of England led by WIlliam the conqueror. During this time Norman French and English co-existed. This was the beginning of the change in English pronunciation known as the 'Great Vowel Shift'. By 1425, English was used universally.
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Describe the 15th-17th century English language.
Printing was a step towards standardization, Greek and Latin texts were translated into English, the 'Great Vowel Shift' was finished and Shakespeare influenced drama and poetry.
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Describe 18th-19th century English language.
Prescriptive ideas began to take shape through the use of grammar books to set rules, the English dictionary created a standard reference point and throughout the 19th century, acronyms were commonly used.
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Describe 19th century-present day English language.
Influence from American English, Colonial expansion of the British Empire and Electronic media extended the growth of English.
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What are Jean Aitchinson's 3 models of prescriptivism?
1. Damn spoon 2. Crumbling castle 3. Infectious disease
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What is the Damp Spoon view?
This metaphor suggests language change is lazy, with the comparison to leaving a wet spoon in sugar. Aitchinson disagrees with this view and believes the only lazy language is alcohol because of the difficulty in articulation.
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What is the Crumbling Castle view?
This metaphor suggests language should be preserved like a castle, yet the castle is viewed as crumbling (the language is decaying) Aitchinson disagrees with this because you can't find the peak of language.
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What is the Infectious Disease view?
This view suggests you can catch language change and that this is a bad thing; suggesting you need to be able to fight it. The view suggests this contagious language change is the result of adapting to fit into social groups.
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What is John Humphries view on language?
Humphries wanted to safeguard grammar, he believed it should be taught in schools to ensure everyone has a basic grammar. He suggests if grammar is not taught then we will become illiterate.
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What is Jonathan Swift's view on language?
He wrote a letter to the Earl of Oxford suggesting that the language is decaying through contracted words, shortening verbs and barbarism. He wants people to return to the Shakespearean language believing he is purifying and protecting language.
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What is Dr. Johnson's view on language?
He had the most common dictionary and was part of the process of standardization. The dictionary was developed in 1755 and he wanted to preserve language to ensure its purity.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


How does technology cause language change?


New forms of media such as the internet create a need for new words, for new concepts.

Card 3


How does society cause language change?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How does culture cause language change?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How does science cause language change?


Preview of the front of card 5
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