Language change theories and concepts (Jean Aitchison (Stages to explain…
Language change theories and concepts
- a word that is only rarely used in common language and we associate with older modes of speech.
- an anxiety about which is the right form of language to use at a particular moment.
- the use of the national standard and a regional dialect.
- a more compressed style of writing to communicate information more efficiently.
- where writing uses language more typically seen in spoken registers.
- the slow shifting of a word's meaning over time.
- a word that is no longer used.
- the establishment of spelling and grammar rules for language.
- a language ideology that seeks to describe without making value judgements.
- a language ideology that makes judgements about what is right and wrong.
- making all variations of language conform to one version.
- language and its structures limit and determine human knowledge or thought, as well as though processes such as categorisation, memory and perception. This implies that people of different languages have different thoughts.
Conversationalisation - convergence of spoken and written discourse.
- Advertisements and marketing texts are increasingly attempting to mimic speech - includes synthetic personalisation.
Explains the use of archaisms and slang.
- explains that language changes to meet new needs.
- model that describes the speed at which a new word or meaning grows in use e.g. a gradual start, then rapid increase, then a levelling off.
- the theory that a new word or meaning creates room in the lexicon for related forms e.g. Brexit = brexiter, brexiting.
- suggestion that language has developed and adapted rather than decayed.
- basis for criticising any use of words such as 'decimate' with a more general sense than their original meaning.
- the idea that language changes in response to changes in our thoughts.
- explains how changes diffuse through geographical and social space, likely ripples on a pond.
- language is inherently unstable and change is unpredictable. Random events and errors lead to language change as a consequence of ever-changing contextual factors.
- Explains how a dominant incoming language is altered by contact with a native language.
Focuses on the influence of different varieties of language e.g. dialects, sociolects, occupational lexis. Focuses on how they change mainstream language use. Explains borrowing, hyper-correction, omission and other ways in which language changes.
Young cuckoo process
- New words slowly get used more than the old and eventually the new word will replace the old.
The Queen's English Society
- Represent an autocratic movement and are prescriptive in their view of language and language change.
= the process whereby language forms that were traditionally reserved for close personal relationships are now used in wider social contexts. The way in which language is becoming increasingly informal in all areas of society.
Stages to explain how new words enter the language.
4 - Codification
- the new language enters the dictionary and is used as a standard for of language.
3 - Diffusion
- the innovation spreads and is used more widely.
2 - Implementation
- a few people start to use the new language
1 - Potential
- a need for a new word arises because of something new in the world.
Infectious disease theory
- We 'catch' changes from those around us and we ought to fight such diseases. However, perhaps it is not a disease because people want to change due to sociolect - they want to fit in with the language that specific social groups use. This metaphor challenges the idea that changes in language are like a virus.
Crumbling castles theory
- Language should be preserved intact, but language has never been perfect and must continue to change in order to cope with changing social circumstances. This metaphor is used to challenge the idea that language change means language decay.
Damp spoon theory
- Language has not become lazy - the only true lazy language is drunken language. Used as a metaphor to challenge the idea that some language is ugly or distasteful.
Argues against a prescriptive view of language, which identifies a vast network or rules and checks usage against these rules. Complaints by prescriptivists are often not about failure to communicate but failure to communicate in a certain way.
Uses the term '
' to describe groups where postings are placed on boards in chat-rooms and '
' to describe groups of people who chat in real life.
= the changing of social contexts. Looks at language as an ongoing process.
= formation of new words and the influence of dictionaries. Looks at what happens inside the language with no external influences.
The internal and external history of language.