Lecture Seven Language Change. Introduction Any language may change with time passing, but the change does not happen overnight. Examples: old English, middle English and modern English; ancient Chinese and modern Chinese The changes can be found in different aspects of the language.
Old English Modern English
stan [sta:n] stone [st] ham [ha:m] home [hm]
wrat [ra:t] wrote [rt]
rad [ra:d] rode [rd]
Middle English Modern English
mice [m:s] mice [mais]
mouse [m:s] mouse [maus]
broke [br:k] broke [brk]
1. Change in “agreement” rule
Whan that Aprille with his shoures sooth …
(When that April with his showers sweet …)
2. Change in negative rule
I love thee not.
He saw you not.
Changes reflected in case and gender.
Old English Middle English Modern English
ure / urum oure our
4. Loss of inflections
Old English Modern English
stan / slanas stone / stones
gear / gear year / years
1. Addition of new words
butter + fly = butterfly!
Dog + House = Doghouse!
gym — gymnasium
expo — exposition
memo — memorandum
disco — discotheque
burger — hamburger
dozer — bulldozer
quake — earthquake
fridge — refrigerator
script — prescription
smog — smoke + fog
motel — motor + hotel
brunch — breakfast + lunch
camcorder — camera + recorder
comsat — communication + satellite
videophone — video + telephone
CBS — Columbia Broadcasting System
ISBN — International Standard Book Number
IT — information technology
CAD — computer assisted design
WTO — World Trade Organization
IDD — international direct dialing
APEC [eipek] — Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation
AIDS [eidz] — Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
UNESCO [ju:nesk] — United Nations Educational
Scientific and Cultural Organization
SARS [sa:s] — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
CELEA [si:li] — China English Language Education
Association (web: elt-china.org)
eftpos [eftps] — electronic funds transfer
at the point of sale
beseem to be suitable
wot to know
gyve a fetter
A. Widening of meaning
1. Becoming more informal
This trend is welcomed by people.
2. Influence coming from American English
3. Influence from science and technology
Computer and internet language
1. Rapid development of science and technology
2. Social and political changes
3. Women’s liberation movements
4. Children’s grammar is never exactly like that of
the adult community.
5. Economy of memory, grammar simplification
plural of “cow” is “cows”, instead of “kine”
plural of “curriculum” is “curriculums”, instead of “curricula”
plural of “dwarf” is “dwarfs”, instead of “dwarves”
“cheap” used as an adverb
Dai, W. D & He, Z. X. (2002). A new concise course on linguistics for students of English. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.
Zhou, Q. J. (1995). Difference in pronunciation between GA & GB. The Publication of FLRASTAC, collective issue of 1995, 61-68.
Do the following as written exercise:
for linguistic change.