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Language change All spoken languages change Some change faster than others.

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Presentation on theme: "Language change All spoken languages change Some change faster than others."— Presentation transcript:

1 Language change All spoken languages change Some change faster than others

2 Continued Written languages can be fixed – but will no longer be used in everyday life Common if a language has cultural or religious significance Latin in Western Europe for 1,500+ years Hebrew among Jews

3 continued Classical Arabic – Muslims Pali – Buddhists Sanskrit – Hindus Coptic – Egyptian Christians Often used on special occasions but not understood

4 continued Often such languages are part of speech community Even non- or semi- speakers insist they are used on certain occasions

5 Prayer Book rebellion 1549 and so we the Cornyshe men (whereof certen of us understande no Englyshe) utterly refuse thyse newe Englyshe Duke of Somerset – they did not understand Latin either so whats the problem?

6 continued Many reasons for change Phonological Structural economic and technical change Contact with other speakers sociolinguistic

7 Ideas about language change Decline – ignorance and laziness before 1786 Family tree – descent with modification

8 mother 1. Ineny 2. Mutter 3. Ma 4. Um 5. Ina 6. Madre 7. Mere

9 continued 8. Mat 9. Madre 10. Moder 11. Εm 12. Tina 13. Tinaa 14. Madær 15. Ma:

10 Key 1. Malagasy 2. German 3. Bengali 4. Arabic 5. Tagalog 6. Italian 7. French 8. Russian 9. Spanish 10. Swedish 11. Hebrew 12. Fijian 13. Samoan 14. Persian 15. Gujerati

11 Family Tree Model William Jones – observed similarities of Latin, Greek and Sanskrit – suggested common (and extinct) ancestor Reconstruction of ancestral languages – Proto-Indo-European, sometimes helped by documentary evidence Later Bantu, Austronesian

12 Some language families Indo-European Dravidian Afro-Asiatic Niger-Congo Austronesian Sino-Tibetan Amerindian? Nostratic? Proto-World????????????????????

13 Wave Model Wave model – languages influence neighbours How else to explain taxi and OK ? Sprachbunde – SE Asia, SE Europe, NE Europe Maybe most of Europe

14 continued 19 th century – Words, structures, forms spread like waves Unpopular until late 20 th century But explains PNG and Australia now punctuated equilibrium

15 Why do languages change? Wrong Ideas Running up German mountains Noisy factories in Northern England Stiff Chinese tongues

16 Structural changes Why did Nemos father say jangan sentuh punggung?

17 continued Language is a system – one change leads to another – Vowel shifts in England, US Northern Cities, China and English speaking southern hemisphere

18 continued Australian front vowels are moving up Central vowels are moving down Boat becomes Buutt

19 Phonological Glottal fricatives deleted Consonant clusters reduced Diphthongs monophthongised

20 BUT Not satisfactory Structural – how did first change get started? Contact – why is influence usually one way? Ease of articulation – why difficult sounds in the first place

21 Sociolinguistic change Provides an adequate exalanation Languages change because of the relationship between social groups

22 continued First there must be variation – I.e. differences But variation does not always lead to change -n, -ng – differences for centuries but no change

23 Continue Variation acquires a social function Differences indicate social status or prestige Forms vary according to social status Forms will spread or disappear because they are linked to social characteristics

24 Language change and society Linguistic forms may spread downwards -- post vocalic /r/ in New York -- may spread upwards – glottalisation in English – reached Diana but not Charles May spread from one ethnic group to another – makan bohsia, innit

25 Continued May spread geographical ly– post- vocalic /r/ deletion in English May spread from one age group to another – grotty, sus out Gender very important – women pioneers in downward change, men in upward change

26 Example Often – all factors contributing to change Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts Fishing community became a tourist centre 1950s Young men began imitating the phonology of older fishermen

27 Continued older form, centralised / aI/ used by fishermen – dying out light pronounced layeet house heyoose

28 continued But – now became a marker of local identity – locals versus summer people – esp Portuguese and Amerindians But by 1990s disappeared – younger people left the island or got jobs in the tourist business

29 Rates of change Why does the rate of change vary? Network theory Dense network – slow change In Belfast, women introduced high status forms – worked in shops in city centre

30 Politics and language change In Berlin local dialect (BUV) declined rapidly in middle class West Berlin Fairly rapidly in Working class West Berlin not in Working Class East Berlin – symbol of identity – before reunification Saxon dialect used by unpopular government

31 continued Divergence of Serbo-Croat since 1991 Divergence of Hindi and Urdu since independence Convergence (standard forms) of Malay and Indonesian Individual case – Sadats Egyptian Arabic response to Arab criticism

32 continued Divergence of Palestinian Arabic in one village since between 1948 and 1967 (Spolsky)

33 Conclusion Languages change At different rates For different reasons Including social reasons And it cannot be stopped

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