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The Language Change The History of English Language
Languages Change With Time 1. Linguistic changes are slow. 2. We know a great deal of the English language because it has written records.
3. The history of English reflects nonlinguistic history to some extent: (a) 449 -1066 Old English (i. )449 Saxons invade Britain (ii. )658 Caedmon’s “Hymn” (iii. )8 th C. Beowulf (iv. )1066 Norman Conquest
(b) 1066 -1500 Middle English (i. )1387 Canterbury Tales (ii. )1476 Caxton’s printing press (iii. )1500 Great Vowel Shift (c) 1500~Modern English
4. Changes in a language refer to changes in the grammars of the speakers of the language, including phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, and semantic components of the grammar.
The Regularity of Sound Change 1. The regular sound correspondences are due to the changes in the languages’ phonological system. It’s sounds that change, not words. 2. Regular sound correspondences can be found among older and newer forms of English, different languages as well as dialects of one language. There also regular sound correspondences in the Native American languages Cree and Ojibwa.
e. x. (a. ) Middle English Modern English ms /mu: s/ mouse/maws/ hs /hu: s/ house /haws/ gs /ge: s / geese /gi: s /
(b. ) English French Spanish / f / / p / father p. Bre padre fish paisson pescado
(c. ) Southern English Non-Southern pie / pa: / pie / paj / / a: / / aj /
3. Genetically related languages were dialects of the same languages at an earlier stage. That is, they developed from the same “parent” language. For example, English and French are genetically related languages.
Ponological Change 1. Ponological Change: (a. ) Old English Modern English (i. )night [ni: xt] [najt] (ii. )drought [druxt] [drawt] (iii. )saw [so: ] [s ] (b. ) / x / / k / eolh [( lx] [( lk] (c. ) / x / / o / holh [h lx] hollow
2. An interaction of phonological rules may result in the addition or loss of phonemes and in changes in the lexicon.
e. x. The /s/ in the verb “house” and the / / in the verb “bathe” were pronounced /z/ and / / because of the rule “When a voiceless consonant phoneme occurs between two vowels, voice that consonant. Later, the final vowel was deleted from the verbs “house” and “bathe” because of the rule “deleting unstressed short vowels at the end of words. ”
3. The set of phonological rules can change both by addition and loss of rules. (The two rules mentioned above were lost eventually. )
The Great Vowel Shift (See pp. 326 -7) The Great Vowel Shift is a primary source of many of the spelling “inconsistencies” of English because our spelling system still reflects the way words were spelled before the Great Vowel Shift took place.
Morphological Change 1. The suffix-ize means “to make---“ : finalize to make final privatize to make private 2. Classical Latin case endings were added to a noun sten according to its function in the sentence.
Case Noun Stem Case Ending nominative lup + us lupus The wolf runs. genitive lup + i lupi A sheep in wolf’s clothing. dative lup + ō lup ō Give food to the wolf accusative lup + um lupum I love the wolf. ablative lup + e lupe Run from the wolf. vocative lup + e lupe Wolf, come here!
Case OE Singular OE Plural nominative stān “stone” stānas “stones” genitive stānes “stone’s” stāna “stones’” dative stāne “stone” stānum “stones” accusative stān “stone” stānas “stones” Modern English lengthens the “stem” vowel and reduce the “suffix” vowel of words. Certain short unstressed vowels are dropped out finally.
Syntactic Change 1. Modern English is an SVO(Subject-Verb Object) language. The syntactic rules permit less variation in word order. In Modern English, negation is expressed by adding not or do not. We may also express negation by adding words like never or no: I am going I am not going I went I did not go I go to school I never go to school. I want food. I don’t want any food; I want no food.
2. contraction rules: do not don’t will not won’t ME : the negative element occurs at the end of the word because “not” is put after the auxiliary OE : the negative element occurs at the beginning of the contraction because it preceded the auxiliary in sentences.
3. “comparative” and “superlative” constructions: ME : We form the comparative by adding - er to the adjective or by inserting more before it, the superlative is formed by adding – est or by inserting most. OE : Double comparatives and double superlatives occur, which today are ungrammatical : more gladder, more lover, most royallest.
Lexical Change Lexical changes include: (1) the addition of new words (2) changes in the meanings of words (3) the loss of words
1. New Words Methods to form new words: (a) Compounding: the recombining of old words to form new ones with new meanings. ex. bigmouth, chickenhearted, egghead … etc. (b) Derivational processes ex. Uglify uglification finalize finalization (c) Other methods: word coinage, deriving words from names, blends … etc.
2. Borrowings Borrowing from other language is another important source of new words. It occurs when one language takes a word or morpheme from another language and adds it to the lexicon. (a) Two divisions: (i) native words (ii) nonnative words (loan words)
(b) Ways: (i) directly ex. Feast (ii) indirectly ex. Algebra (c) Introduce what languages did English borrow from ? Similarly, other languages borrow words. e. x. Japanese from Chinese and European words (esp. American English)
3. Loss of Words A word is lost through inattention: nobody thinks of it; nobody uses it; and it fades out of the language.
4. Semantic Change (a) Broadening: become widen and general ex. Holiday, picture (b) Narrowing: become specific ex. Meat, deer (c) Meaning shifts ex. Bead, silly
Reconstructing “Dead” Languages 1. The branch of linguistics that deals with how languages change, what of changes occur, and why they occurred is called historical and comparative linguistics. 2. In 1786 Sir William Jones suggested the three languages (Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin) had the same origin.
3. Rasmus Rask pointed out the relationships among Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Persian, Germanic, Lithuanian, and Armenian. He was the first scholar to describe formally the regularity of certain phonological differences between related languages. 4. Grimm’s Law can be expressed in terms of natural classes of speech sounds: (a. ) voiced aspirates deaspirated (b. ) voiced stops voiceless (c. ) voiceless stops fricatives
5. Verner’s Law: When the preceding vowel was unstressed, f, T, and x underwent a further change to b, d, and . 6. Neo-Grammarians: They viewed linguistics as a natural science and believed that laws of sound change were unexceptionable natural laws.
7. Stammbaum (family tree) theory: Some linguists thought that languages had a “life cycle” and developed according to evolutionary laws. Each language can be traced to a common ancestor. 8. The comparative method is the method of reconstruction of a parent language from a comparison of its daughters.
9. Nineteenth-century linguistic, beginning with August Schleicher in 1861, were able to initiate the reconstruction of the long-lost parent language so aptly conceived by Jones, Bopp, Rask, and Grimm. That is the language called Indo European.
Historical Evidence 1. Earlier pronunciation is provided by non-English words used in the manuscripts of English. 2. Misspell words according to the way they pronounce them. 3. Clues are provided by the writings of the prescriptive grammarians of the period. 4. Clues to earlier pronunciation are provided by puns and rhymes in literature.
5. By comparing the pronunciation of various words in several dialects, we can reconstruct earlier forms and see what changes took place in the inventory of sounds and in the phonological rules.
6. The different spellings are also a clue. Linguists have been able to establish language families and reconstruct the histories of such individual languages. They first study the languages and dialects spoken today and compare the sound systems, the vocabularies, and the syntax, seeing what correspondences exist.
The Genetic Classification of Languages 1. Historical and comparative linguists classify languages into families and reconstruct earlier forms of the ancestral languages. (a. ) Fifth century, Germanic is the parent of Modern English and Modern German. (b. ) English and German are sisters. (c. ) An early form of Germanic and an early form of Latin were sisters. The respective offspring are cousins.
2. A language dies when no children learn it. (a. ) All the speakers of the language are amihilated by some cataclysm. (b. ) The speakers of the language are absorbed by another culture that speak a different language.
Why Do Languages Change? 1. No one knows how or why languages change. 2. Linguistic changes do not happen suddenly; changes are more gradual, particularly changes in the phonological and syntactic system.
3. A basic cause of change is the way children acquire the language. 4. The reason for some changes are relatively easy to understand. 5. Phonological changes in languages: (a) Some sounds and combinations of sounds are “earlier to pronounce” than other. (b) Vowels are frequently nasalized before nasal consonants.
6. Internal borrowing: We borrow from one part of the grammar and apply the rule generally. It is also called analogic change. 7. Many factors contribute to linguistic change: simplification of grammars, elaboration to maintain intelligibility, borrowing and lexical additions. 8. Language changes for the same reason all things change: that it is nature of things to change.
Languages of the World At the end of this chapter, Table 8. 1, which includes a number of the world’s languages, shows genetic relationships, the principal geographic areas where the language is spoken, and the number of speakers.
1. Evidence of linguistic change is found in the regular correspondences. 2. Phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical and semantic changes occur. 3. Words, morphemes, phonemes, and rules of all types may be added, lost or altered. 4. The meaning of words and morphemes may expand, narrow or shift.
5. The study of linguistic change is called historical and comparative linguistics. 6. A particularly effective technique for reconstructing “dead” languages is the comparative method. 7. There are language universals as well as differences.