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Copy of Theories of Language Change

6 ways in which our language is changing; what evidence supports it and who supports it.

Sally Hague

on 6 March 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Theories of Language Change

Theories of
Language Change Attitudes to
Language Change Phonological
Change The Influence
of Technology Globalization Informalization Semantic Change David Crystal Hopper '92 Goodman '96 Suzanne Romaine '98 Euphemisms Americanisms Gender Roles Ease of travel
and publication Fairclough Sharon Goodman '96 Labov Robert Burchfield '81 Donald Mackinnon '96 Jean Aitchison Prescriptivism Descriptivism Phillip Heshner '02 Bex '96 Harvey and
Shalom '97 Blank '97 Tim Shortis '01 Schegloff Gzrega '04 closing sequences Telephone opening
routines (discourse) Increasingly changing
due to use of mobiles Multi-modal forms of communication Greetings are not the first echange as they are when the encounter is face-to-face 1. Summons - answer sequence 2. Identification/recognition sequence 3. Greeting sequence ("greeting tokens") 4. Initial enquiries "dialogic character of e-messaging" Asynchronous Synchronous Telephone
Face to face Chat blogs
Postings "A virtual environment of extended imagery" lower case used in 60's and now again becoming more popular - i.e. 'bp' Multimodal 'xxx' 'supercharged typographic icon' Internal and external history of language Internal External the changing social contexts language as an ongoing process formation of new words and influences of dictionaries etc. Looks at what happens inside the language with no external factors increasingly accessible for lower classes English was a global/universal language Printing press + William Caxton dynamic difference deficit dominance Phillip Howard '77 "The revolving cycle of euphemism" "turning full circle" Nancy Mairs Justman '95 Robin Lakoff '75 Martin Montgomery '86 Dwight Bollinger '80 euphemisms are going too far to avoid offense, they're becoming so innaccurate it is becoming dangerous euphemisms are used in the military euphemisms are used in advertising euphemisms were the language of the Nazis 'lady' is a euphemism for woman 'conversationalized' "Professional encounters are increasingly likely to contain informal forms of English Barriers between formal and informal are breaking down due to technology and ease of communication Others argue: barriers remain but we are more likely to be manipulated if they appear not to be Some argue: informalization is breaking down barriers between 'them' and 'us' language forms that were traditionally reserved for close personal relationships are now used in wider social contexts Martha's Vineyard Research suggests that we subconsciously change our language to identify ourselves with one group rather than another Trait -> final 't' is silent Adult -> stress 1st syllable Controversy -> stress 1st syllable Ate -> rhymes with 'bet' not 'bait' Advised BBC announcers on pronunciation He gives preference to the 'socal package' of region, education and by implication, class. Political correctness 1. Incorrect/correct 2. Pleasant or ugly 3. Socially acceptable/unnacceptable 4. Morally acceptable/unacceptable 5. Innappropriate or appropriate 6. Useful or useless Descriptivist Argues against prescriptivism Language in Decay? Young people are not lazy in their speech "All languages have their 'rules' in the sense of recurring subconscious patterns. Real rules need to be distinguished from artificially imposed ones" Jonathan Green believing that language change is good language change is a natural process which we should not try to manipulate the belief that language is not supposed to change it was better before and is currently in decay 19th Century linked to standards of behaviour 18th Century worked way into text books. Modelled on revered ancient languages of Greek and Latin Queen's English Society "Aims to defend the precision, subtlety and marvellous richness of our language against the debasement ambiguity and other forms of misuse" "changes becomes established because of indifference" Autocratic Movement "Although it accepts that there is always a natural development of any language, the Society deplores those changes which are the result of ignorance 'Crumbling castle' 'Damp spoon' 'Social Virus' language is historical and needs to be preserved society is responsible for accepting and spreading language changes language change is vulgar and should not be encouraged tried to set up a complete list of motives for semantic change revised and englarged Blank's motive list linguistic forces: pronunciation psychological forces: perceptions sociocultural forces: society's influence cultural forces: influences of other cultures highlighted the complexity of the situation that people in a group can call each other names, but that when called these names from someone outside the group it becomes offensive The effects of this word choice are strongly linked to context The word 'fuck' may carry power to shock but it is no longer as taboo as it used to be Also note that taboo language has a different function in its public and private contexts A problem area in language is often identified by the fact there are lots of variations of a concept, which lacks a single form Technical Euphemistic Dyphemistic Generic Labels we are living in a time where genre is important and changing constantly Generic labels = used to describe groups of texts which seem to have similar language features and perform similar social functions Genres as communicative texts indicate what is regarded as important in society. Genres change over time because society does. 1. Change within genre:
the way it is created/presented e.g. recipes 2. New sub-genres
e.g. celebrity cook books 3. New discourse communities develop that are not represented within existing genres
e.g. recipes on the internet
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