Language Change

Talk about language change, often treats language as an entity indipendent of its speakers and writers. In reality it is not so much that language itself changes,  as that speakers and writers change the way they use the language. Speaker innovation is a more accurate description than language change. Speakers innovate, sometimes spontanneously, but more often by imitating speakers from other communities. If their innovations are adopted by others and diffuse through their local community and beyond into other communities then linguistic chnage is the result.

Variation and Change

Language varies in three major ways which are interestingly inter-related-over time, in physical space and socially. Language change- variation over time- has its origins in spatial (or regional) and social variation. A monolingual community the superficial impression may be that everyone speaks the same. In a small town it often seems that everyone uses the same language, but its identify of variation, most focus in vocabulary and pronounciation. All language change has its origins in variation. The possibility of a linguistic change exists as soon as a new form develops and begins to be used alongside an existing form. If the new form spreads, the change is in progress. If it eventually displaces the old form, the change has become a ‘fait accomli’-it has gone to completion. Similarly, a sound change occours when one sound is replaced in people’s speech by another over a period of time, or when a sound disappears, the process in the same.

Post-vocalic (r)- its spread and its status   

Standard English has lost the pronunciation of (r) following vowels in words like star and start. The lost of post-vocalic (r) seem to have begun in the seventeenth century in the south-east of England, but in south-west of England (r) still regularly pronounced. Accents with post-vocalic (r) are called ‘rhotic’. Rothic English accents are regarded as rural and uneducated. On the other hand, post-vocalic (r) is alive and well and extensively used. The pronounciation of (r) in English-speaking communities provides a wealth of examples of the complexity of linguistic variation and language change, as well as the arbitrariness of the form which happen to be standard in any communities. On some parts of America it is the rhotic variety which in increasing.

The Spread of Vernacular Forms

A pronounciation which is considered prestigious will be immitated, and will spread through a community. There is a possiblelity to changes to proceed form a variety of starting points in a variety of direction. Attituddes were reflected in the way they pronounced words like light and house. Their pronounciation of the vowels in these words had gradually become more and more centralised. The possition of the tongue at the start of the vowel had moved towards the centre of the mouth. This sound change, which seem to be unconscious, was a change to a more conservative pronounciation which used to be associated with the area in the past.

 How do Changes Spread?

1.      From group to group. This situation influnced by social factors such as age, sex, status and region affect the rates of change and the directions in which the waves roll most swiftly. The wave metaphor is one useful way of visualising the spread of a change from group to group.

2.      From style to style. In the speech of particular individual it suggests the change spreads from one style to other (from more formal to more casual). In the most formal style of the young people in the most socially statusful group in the community.

3.      From word to word-lexical diffusion. Sound changes spread through different words one by one. When a sound change begins, all the words with a particular vowel don’t change at once in the speech of a community.

How do we study language change?

Apparent-time studies of language change.

Information on the language use of different age groups may reveal the direction of linguistic chnage in a community. The patterns noted for different grpups in the community have not change over the last fifty or sixty years. Comparing the speech of people from different groups can be useful clue then to language change. The speech of older people tend to use more of the newer or innovative forms, and the older people use more of the older, conservative forms, the ones they adopted in their own teenage years. The regular or normal age-grading pattern for any form involves a higher incidence of vernacular forms among younger people.

0 komentar:

Posting Komentar