THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE HISTORY The evolution

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THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE HISTORY THEORETICAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE HISTORY

The evolution of the language includes the internal or structural  development  and “ external”The evolution of the language includes the internal or structural development and “ external” history o f the language Internal linguistic changes are changes at the: phonetic and phonological levels ( historical phonetics (phonology )) morphological level ( historical morphology ) syntactic level ( historical syntax ) lexical level ( historical lexicology )

Interdependence of changes at different linguistic levels The history of noun morphology = simplification: nouns haveInterdependence of changes at different linguistic levels The history of noun morphology = simplification: nouns have lost most of their cases (OE – 4, NE — 2). Phonetic weakening of final syllables Analogical levelling of forms at the morphological level Stabilisation of word order at the level of syntax OE sunu > ME sune (also spelt sone ) > NE son

The external history of the language embraces a number of issues:  the spread of theThe external history of the language embraces a number of issues: the spread of the language in geographical and social space the differentiation of language into functional varieties (geographical variants, dialects, standard and sub-standard forms, etc. ) contacts with other languages

 The concept of language space – i. e. the geographical and social space occupied by The concept of language space – i. e. the geographical and social space occupied by the language. The concept of linguistic situation – embraces the functional differentiation of language and the relationships between the functional varieties.

Statics and Dynamics in Language History There are certain permanent universal properties in all languages atStatics and Dynamics in Language History There are certain permanent universal properties in all languages at any period of time e. g. the division of sounds into vowels and consonants; the distinction between the main parts of speech and parts of the sentence. English has many stable characteristics which have proved almost immune to the impact of time e. g. some parts of the vocabulary have been preserved through ages: most pronouns, form-words, words denoting basic concepts of life

Statics and Dynamics in Language History  e. g. many ways of word-formation have remained historicallyStatics and Dynamics in Language History e. g. many ways of word-formation have remained historically stable. e. g. grammatical categories number in nouns, degrees of comparison in adjectives have suffered little alteration, case or gender have undergone profound changes. Statics and dynamics can be found both in synchrony and in diachrony. Dynamics in diachrony = linguistic change

CONCEPT OF LINGUISTIC CHANGE  3 main types of difference in language:  geographical, social, temporal.CONCEPT OF LINGUISTIC CHANGE 3 main types of difference in language: geographical, social, temporal. Linguistic changes imply temporal differences. Linguistic changes are transformations of the same units in time which can be registered as distinct steps in their evolution.

e. g.  OE     ME     NE to finde. g. OE ME NE to find — fundon [fundon] — founden [f H nden]- found (the Past tense pl of the Ind. Mood) — (Past pl of the Subj. and Part. II) — (the 3 forms had fallen together) These changes are defined as structural or intralinguistic : phonetic and spelling changes, phonetic and morphological changes, morphological changes in the place of the form in the verb paradigm and its grammatical meaning (it stands now both for the sing and pl since these forms are not distinguished in the Past tense)

Replacements  are linguistic changes,  which involve some kind of substitution. Types of replacements One-to-oneReplacements are linguistic changes, which involve some kind of substitution. Types of replacements One-to-one replacement but [u] > [ A ], feet [e: ] > [ J ]; OE ēa > French river Merging or mergers the Modern Common case of nouns is the result of the merging of the three OE cases – Nom. , Gen. , Acc. ) Splitting or split the consonant [k] has split into [k] and [ C ] kin, keep vs chin, child

 HISTORICAL  CHANGES A change is historical if it can be shown as a phonetic HISTORICAL CHANGES A change is historical if it can be shown as a phonetic modification of an earlier form. e. g. the modern plural ending of nouns — es has descended directly from its prototype, OE -as due to phonetic reduction and loss of the vowel (OE st ān-as vs. NE ston-es ) Both the change and the resulting form are called historical ANALOGICAL CHANGES An analogical form does not develop directly from its prototype; it appears on the analogy of other forms, similar in meaning and shape. e. g. when the plural ending -es began to be added to nouns which had never taken — as – but had used other endings: -u, -an, -a, — it was a change by analogy or an instance of analogical levelling. This analogical change gave rise to new forms referred to as “analogical” (OE nam-an > NE nam-es )

Rate of Linguistic Changes slow and gradual is restricted by the communicative function of the languageRate of Linguistic Changes slow and gradual is restricted by the communicative function of the language different levels of the language develop at different rates

 •  Lexical level – rapid changes, easy to observe Phonetic level – changes can • Lexical level – rapid changes, easy to observe Phonetic level – changes can not be sudden or rapid since the system of phonemes must preserve the oppositions between the phonemes required for the distinction of morphemes Grammatical system is very slow to change. As the most abstract level it must provide stable formal devices for arranging words into classes and for connecting them into phrases and sentences.

Mechanism of Change.  Role of Synchronic variation A linguistic change begins with synchronic variation (formalMechanism of Change. Role of Synchronic variation A linguistic change begins with synchronic variation (formal and semantic). Synchronic variation is found in every language at every stage of its history. It is caused by functional differentiation and tendencies of historical development. New features, which appear as instances of synchronic variation, represent dynamics in synchrony and arise in conformity with productive historical trends

Causes of Language Evolution Extralinguistic Events in the history of the people relevant to the developmentCauses of Language Evolution Extralinguistic Events in the history of the people relevant to the development of the language: structure of the society; expansion over new geographical areas; migrations; mixtures and separation of tribes; political and economic unity or disunity; contacts with other nations; the progress of culture and literature Intra-linguistic General factors or regularities (operate in all languages as inherent properties of any language system) Specific factors (operate in one language or in a group of related languages at a certain period of time )

General factors or regularities  assimilative and simplifying phonetic changes [kn]  [n] in know, kneeGeneral factors or regularities assimilative and simplifying phonetic changes [kn] > [n] in know, knee [t] was missed out in often, listen

Specific factors English belongs to the Germanic group of languages and shares man y Germanic trendsSpecific factors English belongs to the Germanic group of languages and shares man y Germanic trends of development with cognate languages. The Common Germanic trends were transformed and modified in the history of English. As a result English displayed a tendency towards a more analytical grammatical structure, but it has gone further than most other languages because of the combination of internal and external conditions and due to the interaction of changes at different linguistic levels.

In the 14 th c. the following words were pronounced as they are spelt, the LatinIn the 14 th c. the following words were pronounced as they are spelt, the Latin letters retaining their original sound values. Show the phonetic changes since the 14 th c. e. g. ME nut [nut] > NE [n A t] ME moon, fat, meet, rider, want, knee, turn, first, part, for, often

 Point out the peculiarities in the following passage from Shakespeare’s SONNETS (17 th c. ): Point out the peculiarities in the following passage from Shakespeare’s SONNETS (17 th c. ): It is my love that keeps mine eyes awake; Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat – Bring me within the level of your frown. But shoot not at me in your wakened hate!

1) A linguistic change is a synchronic fact (A. Sommerfelt) 2) Visible change is the tip1) A linguistic change is a synchronic fact (A. Sommerfelt) 2) Visible change is the tip of an iceberg. Every alteration that eventually establishes itself, had to exist formerly as a choice. This means that the seedbed for variation in time is simply the whole landscape of variation in space (D. Bolinger)

3) The structure of language is nothing but the unstable balance between the needs of communication,3) The structure of language is nothing but the unstable balance between the needs of communication, which require more numerous and more specific units and man’s inertia, which favours less numerous, less specific and more frequently occuring units (A. Martinet)




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