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Language is always changing. We've seen that
language changes across space and across social
group. Language also varies across time.
Short "o" Long "Open o"
mother mer madre madre mae mama mare
father per padre padre pae tata pare
Language variation and
The Language Variation and Change is
experimental work and computational modelling in
order to understand the causes and consequences
of language variation, across speakers, contexts
and lexical items.
Example of Language variation
Children these days are putting the language at
risk with their careless and sloppy pronounciations.
From many possible example select just one. The
distinctions between which and which, and whether
and weather, are slowly but surely disappearing in
children speech. Do other listeners regret this loss i
do ?when i heart a child asking which which ?
recently,it sopuded as if she had a stutter.
POST VOCALIC [r] – ITS
SPREAD AND ITS STATUS
In many parts of England and Wales,
standard English has lost the pronunciation
of [r] following vowels in words like star and
Accents with post-vocalic [r] are called
‘rhotic’. In large areas of England rhotic
English accents are regarded as rural and
THE SPREAD OF
A pronunciation which is considered prestigious will be
imitated, and will spread trough a community.
It is possible for changes to proceed from a variety of
starting points in a variety of directions.
pronunciation of the vowels in these words had gradually
become more and more centralized
HOW DO CHANGES SPREAD
From group to group
In any speech community different sets of waves intersect.
You belong simultaneously to a particular age group, region,
and social group.
From style to style
FIGURE 9.1 The wave-like spread of linguistic changes. (this
diagram is based on Bailey 1973a: 159)
From word to word
Sound changes spread through different word one by one.
This is called lexical diffusion.
How do we study language
In order to resolve such
problems we need to examine
the reasons for linguistic
change, and to identify factors
other than age as clue to the
direction of changes in
Language change in real time
The apparent-time method of
studying language change is a
useful shortcut for
sociolinguists who generally
cannot afford to wait around
for twenty years to see what
happens in real time.
Reasons for language change
Social status and language change
Members of the group with most social
status, for example, tend to introduce
changes into a speech community
from neighbouring communities which
have greater status and prestige in
Gender and Linguistic Change
An important consequence of gender differentiation in language
is linguistic change. Aspects of linguistic variability are of interest to
sociolinguists who attempt to chart how the language used by individuals
and groups in various social situations can vary in patterned ways.
Language variation serves to distinguish the speech of different social
groups (social variation),
as well as the speech of an individual in different contexts
(stylistic variation). Over time, these variations may lead to language
change, which occurs when a new linguistic form, used by a particular
sub-section of a speech community, is adopted by other members of the
community and accepted as the norm. Sociolinguists now recognize that
not only linguistic variation between social groups, but also gender
differences in speech play an important role in the promulgation of
Interaction and contact between people is crucial in providing
the channels for linguistics chage, as previous examples have
implied. In this final section I will briefly identify more explicitly the
ways in which interaction- or lack of it-has affected the progress of
linguistics changes in number of communities
Interaction and Language Change