Language Change

What are the main reasons for language change?
Immigration, Technology, Invention and Innovation, and generally the need for new functional lexis.
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Whats a main way to create new words?
Acronyms and Initialisation
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Whats the difference between prescriptivist and descriptivist attitudes?
Prescriptivists reject language change and believe it is destroying the language, whereas descriptivists embrace it and are willing to accept it.
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What was the first stage of English/language change?
5th Century - Old English - languages of Britain were Celtic. Viking raids led to an Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse influence. Latin was the rich language. Different settlement areas = regional dialects. English = phonetic language, so writing was inconsi
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What was the second stage of English/language change?
11th Century - Middle English - Norman invasion. French is verbal lang of court, Latin was important in written work. Writers like Chaucer chose to write in English towards end of ME. Dialectal differences remained with.
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What was the third stage of English/language change?
15th Century - Early Modern English - Caxton introduced printing press. Established SE using south east as basis. Many chose to write in English, including Shakespeare. James I commissioned Bible.
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What was the fourth stage of English/language change?
18th Century - Modern English - English grown at incredible rate, with words borrowed from Latin & Greek. Grammarians began to examine structure & establish patterns. Led them to propose 'correct' ways to use language.
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What is the fifth stage of English/language change?
20th Century - Present Day English - English has continued to develop through influence of TV, media and travel. English is established as a global language.
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How did the British Empire impact language change?
It held power in the 18th Century, and English drew heavily from languages around the world, such as India and Africa.
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How did the industrial revolution impact language change?
Had an effect of the socio-economic and cultural traditions of England, leading to a huge migration of people from country to cities to work in factories. Social class was a concern, with lang used to mark identity, leading to a prestige of SE.
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How does technological development impact language?
Structures of language, modes of communication, Americanisation.
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How do we create new words?
External Factors - borrowing words from other languages. Internal Factors - modify existing words. Expansion - create entirely new words (neologisms).
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What was the 'Inkhorn Controversy'?
Thomas Wilson coined the phrase in about 1553. It was stated that borrowed 'fancy' words used by authors were considered pretentious and artificial. Those opposing the terms believed they would 'corrupt' the English language.
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What is 'L'academie Francaise'?
An official body, charged with trying to preserve the integrity of French, by preventing the anglicising of the French langauge.
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Who was Johnathan Swift?
A protester against lexical development in 1712. He produced 'A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Acertaining the English Tongue'.
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What were Johnathan Swift's main concerns of dislike?
Shortened words, unnecessary contractions, unnecessary polysyllabic words, words that had undergone semantic shift.
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What happened in 1755?
Samuel Johnson published his dictionary in one of the first major attempts to fix and stabilise the language.
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What is Neosemy?
The process whereby a new meaning develops for an existing word. E.g. the word 'fond' once meant foolish and silly.
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What is amelioration?
When a word acquires a more pleasant meaning over time. e.g. 'terriblly', 'pretty' (used to mena sly/cunning).
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What is pejoration?
The opposite of amelioration. When a word acquires a more negative meaning over time. E.g. 'villain' used to mean 'farm worker'.
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What was the Great Vowel Shift?
Took place mid 14th century - mid 18th century. Was a gradual changing of vowel pronunciation. The production of long vowels was raised so that the position of the tongue moved closer to the roof of the mouth.
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How did the Renaissance impact language change?
Borrowings from French and Latin were adapted to suit English spelling. E.g. 'Aventure' became 'Adventure'.
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Who was one of the leading figures in grammatical rules?
Robert Lowth - published 'Short Introduction to English Grammar' in 1762. He believed an understanding of English grammar would assist with learning Latin.
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What are the four stages of standardisation created in 1985 by Milroy and Milroy?
Selection - prestigious language selected. Codification - establishment of norms involving spelling and grammar. Elaboration - developed for variety of purposes. Implementation - making texts in it, encouraging users to use it.
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What were Jean Aichinson (2013) views towards language change?
Damp Spoon Syndrome - language change caused by sloppiness and laziness. Crumbling Castle - English language is a beautiful building that needs to be preserved. Infectious Disease - Suggests we 'catch' change from those around us.
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What did Donald Mackinnon devise in 1966?
Suggested language can be seen as: Correct/Incorrect, Pleasant/Ugly, Socially Acceptable/Unacceptable, Appropriate/Inappropriate, Useful/Useless
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Whats a main way to create new words?


Acronyms and Initialisation

Card 3


Whats the difference between prescriptivist and descriptivist attitudes?


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Card 4


What was the first stage of English/language change?


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Card 5


What was the second stage of English/language change?


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