Kamis, 02 Februari 2012

Language Change

Language change is the phenomenon whereby phonetic, morphological, semantic, syntactic, and other features of language vary over time. The effect on language over time known as diachronic change.
In 1786, Sir William Jones, a British government official, suggested that a number of languages from very different geographical areas must have some common ancestor. This common ancestor could not be described from any existing record, but had to be hypothesized on the basis of similar features existing in records of languages which were believed to be descendants. Linguistic investigation of this type focuses on the historical development of languages and attempts to charactenze the regular process which are involved in language change.
Causes of language change
  1. Economy: Speakers tend to make their utterances as efficient and effective as possible to reach communicative goals. Purposeful speaking therefore involves a trade-off of costs and benefits.
    • the principle of least effort: Speakers especially use economy in their articulation, which tends to result in phonetic reduction of speech forms. See vowel reduction, cluster reduction, lenition, and elision. After some time a change may become widely accepted (it becomes a regular sound change) and may end up treated as a standard. For instance: going to [ˈɡoʊ.ɪntʊ] → gonna [ˈɡʌnə], with examples of both vowel reduction [ʊ] → [ə] and elision [nt] → [n], [oʊ.ɪ] → [ʌ].
  2. Analogy - reducing word forms by likening different forms of the word to the root.
  3. Language contact - the borrowing of words from foreign languages.
  4. The medium of communication
  5. Cultural environment: Groups of speakers will reflect new places, situations, and objects in their language, whether they encounter different people there or not.


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