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Ch. 8 Language Variation and Change

Chapter 8 (Language Variation and Change) of An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Wardhaugh & Fuller 2015).
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Tiffany Judy

on 11 March 2016

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Transcript of Ch. 8 Language Variation and Change


Some Changes in Progress
Variation vs. Change
The Traditional View
The traditional view of language change is only interested in changes that have
structural consequences
for the language (p. 196)
The Process of Change
Types of change
Ch. 8 Language Variation and Change
THANK YOU!
"Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change."
--Lord Alfred Tennyson

What does
"structural consequences"
mean?
Internal change
External change
http://people.umass.edu/sharris/in/gram/GrammarBook/Pronunciation.html
Why might sociolinguists be exclusively interested in those changes that bring about
structural

consequences
for languages?
Family tree vs. Wave model of change
θ
Which of these are structural in nature?
they affect the language holistically
they can inform diachronic linguistics
LATIN
FRENCH
ITALIAN
PORTUGUESE
ROMANIAN
SPANISH
Language A
Language B
Language C
Language D
Examples:
Phonological
with vs. wit vs. wif
-ing vs. -in
orange
Morphological
fists vs. fistes/ costs vs. costes
quick vs. quickly
Syntactic
double negation
positive
anymore
Issues
What causes linguistic change?
Gravity model of diffusion: city to city; can leapfrog smaller communities
Geographical or political boundaries can promote or inhibit linguistic change
Is this age-grading (and not change)?
Real-time panel study: the same sample is tested at a later time (20-30 years later)
Real-time trend study: another sample is drawn from the same population at different times (20-30 years later)
If the behavior of the sample changed, this is age-grading; if not, we have real linguistic change
Agents of change
Trudgill (1972) showed that upper-middle working class men in Norwich use certain pronunciations (in this case, the non-standard, working class type) to express certain values
Linguistic marketplace
Change from below (i.e. internal)
Ripe for change
upward mobility available
How?
Lexical diffusion (p. 218)
S curve
similar to the Wave model
How does linguistic change diffuse through time and space?
How is linguistic change maintained?
Women
Labov (1981, p. 184): in general, lower middle class women, when in situations stratified by style and class, try to emulate those "better" than them
Men
Gal (1978, 1979) showed that Hungarian-speaking women in Oberwart, Austria (a German-speaking community with a substantial Hungarian-speaking peasant community) prefer to marry German-speaking men
Holmquist (1985) showed the same with respect to Uciedan-speaking women in Cantabria, Spain and their preference for Castilian-speaking men
Cheshire (1978) showed that lower-class boys in Reading, England use more non-standard syntax than girls for reasons of identity and solidarity
however, this is limited to situations in which women can improve their status
the inverse was found in Iran and India
"what do individuals want and what will they accept or reject linguistically to satisfy these wants?" (W&F 2015, p. 211)
"Linguistic utterances or expressions are always produced in particular contexts or markets, and the properties of these markets endow linguistic products with 'value.' On a given linguistic market, some products are valued more highly than others; and part of the practical competence of speakers is to know how, and to be able, to produce expressions which are highly valued on the markets concerned." (Bourdieu 1991, p. 57)
Change from above (i.e. external)
unconscious, systematic and may involve issues of economy
conscious, sporadic and involves issues of prestige
(Milroy 1992, p. 9; Milroy & Milroy 1992): "groups linked internally mainly by relatively weak ties are susceptible to innovation"
geographic mobility
more, but more shallow, social ties
Labov (2007)
Transmission of change
Diffusion of change
"the product of the acquisition of language by young children"
"the limitations of diffusion are the result of the fact that most language contact is largely between and among adults" (p. 349)
What do each of these models focus on?
NCVS: https://screen.yahoo.com/bill-swerskis-super-fans-da-000000191.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2012/08/northern_cities_vowel_shift_how_americans_in_the_great_lakes_region_are_revolutionizing_english_.html
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