Language variation

  • Created by: mooearm19
  • Created on: 12-05-18 16:16

Language Change

Lexical Change:

  • Coinage - creation of a new word
  • Borrowing - borrowing words from other langauges
  • Compounding - words combinded to create new words
  • Clipping - shortened words
  • Blending - combination of clipping and compounding
  • Acronym - NATO
  • Initailism - OMG/MP3
  • Affixation - 'dininterest'/'regift'
  • Functional shift - shift from one word class to another
  • Eponym - name of person/company used to define object
  • Back formation - verb created by removing suffix
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Language Change

Sematic Change:

  • Broadening - meaning of word broadens
  • Narrowing - meaning of word narrows
  • Ameiloration - word aquires a more pleasant meaning
  • Pejoration - word becomes less favourable
  • Weakening - reduction in the force of a word
  • Metaphor - abstract ideas as additional meanings
  • Euphemism - polite expressions for unpleasant things
  • Polysemy - word aquires many possible meanings
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Language Change

Grammatical Change:

  • Verb inflections - pleaseth/pleases
  • Formation of past tense - I am come/I came
  • Use of modal and auxiliary verbs - especially 'do'
  • Personal pronoun system - thee/thou/ye
  • Relative pronoun system - Our father which art/Our father who art
  • Formation of negatives - I see not/I do not see
  • Formation of questions - seest thou/do you see
  • Noun and adjective endings or inflections - mankinde/mankind
  • Formation of plurals - shoon/shoes
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The History of the English Language

Old English

Middle English

Early Modern English

Modern English

Invasion of England by the Celtics

1066 Norman Invasion and French taking over

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Standardisation - Caxton's Printing Press




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Establishing an English Language

There are two views in establishing an English Language:

Pescriptivist vs Descriptivist

Inkhorn Controversy and The Francais Academie 

Historical views:


Modern views:

Aitchson/Mackinnon.      John McWhorter/John Humphreys/Lindsay Young

vocal fry/uptalk/texting/Ghetto Grammar

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Aitchson (2013):

Damp Spoon Syndrome

Crumbling Castle

Infectious Disease

Mackinnon (1996):

Language can be :

Correct/Incorrect  - cant be fixed                    Pleasant/Ugly - personal preference

Socially or morally acceptable/unacceptable - taboo

Aproppriate/Inappropriate - in context            Useful/Useless

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Why does change happen?

  • Historical Events/changing social climate
  • External factors eg. technology/war/informailty 
  • Internal factors
  • Ease of articulation
  • Omission
  • Neatening/regularisation eg. plurals/tenses/endings
  • Random Fluctuation Theory - lang change isn't a logical/ordered pocess
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How does change spread?

  • Social mobility
  • Technology
  • Interaction and transmission
  • Innovation and diffusion
  • Subtratum Theory - new learners learn the langauge imperfectly and then pass this version onto the next generation.
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World Englishes

English as a Gobal Language

Colonisation - Pidgins emerged as the slaves didn's speak the same languages so became a form of communication between each other and their masters.

Pidgins and Creoles

L1 and L2 from the first and second diasporas

English as a Lingua Franca

Different World Englishes eg. Indian English or Hinglish

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Theorists and Attitudes

Kachru - world wodel

Strevens - world model

Schneider - 'dynamic model' of post-colonial English

Jenkins - 5 Characteristics of ELF

Crystal - nothing can stop English and a Global Langauge

Graddol - 'current global wave of English may lose momentum' - give way to Chinese/Spanish

Nerriere - 'Globish' and a stripped down form of English

Seidhofer - Language can be more accessible through grammar

Pagel - Abrupt punctuation change

Lim - 'ecology of langauge'

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Examples of World English varieties

Phonology - Indian English 'retroflex' for constonants /t/ and /d/ 

- Some African Englishes replace 'schwa' in butter /b^tə/ with full vowel sound /b^t3:/

- Stress-timed (English) or syllable-timed (French/Spanish)

Vocabulary - US English/Canadian English/Australian English

- 'sneakers'/'trainers'

- 'grade'/'year'

Grammar - limited marking of past tense or not marking plural endings on nouns in some Englishes

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Ethnic Language

Studies and Theories:

Oakland Proposal - wanted teachers to learn to understand 'Ebonics' and for it to be used in schools. Ministry of Education refused to pay for the education of the teachers as didn't acknowledge 'Ebonics' as a foreign language.

Ann Arbor School - parents sued school for not recognising the idenity of the students who used 'Ebonics', the court agreed that the school should find a way to identify the Black English and teach them Standard American English.

Windrush - in reference to British Black English

Gary Ives - Asian English code-switching in Bradford and South London schools

Labov - Language and identity in the Martha's Vineyard case and how this links to how the users of Black English are establishing and identity.

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Attitudes to Ethnic Language

Debate as to whether 'Ebonics' is a langauge or a dialect

Should Black English be used in schools to teach?

McWhorter - Against the Oakland Proposal as he said it was not for an educational purpose but to fight racism which he believes to be media fuled. “inner city backgrounds do not prepare many children to be receptive to education in school.

Labov - Believed that the Oakland Proposal should be allowed to try and children learn better in their First Language.

Graddol - Language is evolving to become more than just English

Kerwill - Multi-Ethic Youth Dialect is being created in London due to new identities through comminities of practise and immigration.

Kachru's concentric circles of World English model

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