Sociolinguistics Lesson 13 Language Change
Learning Objectives • Variation and change • Post-vocalic [r] • Vernacular forms • Why do changes spread? • From group to group • From style to style • From word to word • How do we study language change? • Apparent time studies • Real time studies
Learning Objectives • Reasons for language change • Social status and language change • Gender and language variation • Interaction and language variation
Variation and change • Language varies in three ways • in physical space (regional variation) • socially (social variation) • over time (language change)
Post-vocalic [r] • Example 3 • Standard English has lost the pronunciation of [r] following vowels in words like star and start. • It does not occur in RP nor in London Cockney dialect. • The loss is still in progress, as there are areas such as south-west England where [r] is still pronounced.
Spread of vernacular forms • Example 4 • In Martha’s Vineyard, the people resented the fact that the island has been invaded by immigrants and tourists. • They pronounced the words light and house like [ləit] and [həus], in which the vowel is more centralised. • This pronunciation was associated with the area in the past. • The fishermen used this to express solidarity.
Exercise 3 • The high rise terminal (HRT) is a rising intonation pattern. • It is a vernacular feature which is increasing in Sydney. • Sources • Spread to Sydney from other areas of Australia • Spread to Sydney from New Zealand
How do changes spread? • From group to group Figure 9.1 • From style to style Figure 9.2 Exercise 4 • From word to word Exercise 5
How do we study language change? • Apparent-time studies of language change • Comparing the speech of people from different age groups • Differences between the speech of older people and younger people are interpreted as indications of changes in progress, e.g. an increase in the use of prestigious forms indicate language change.
How do we study language change? • Apparent-time studies of language change • The problem is with the vernacular forms, as young people use more vernacular forms anyway. Therefore the use of vernacular forms by young people might be simply stable variation. • Researchers need to ensure that teenagers will continue to use the vernacular form even when they reach adulthood.
How do we study language change? • Real time studies of language change • Researchers look at language changes in the same place over a long period of time (20-30 years) • Trudgill’s Norwich study He compared the data in1968 and 1983, and found that the vowels of beer and bear had completely merged.
Reasons for language change • Social status and language change • Members of the group with most social status tend to introduce changes into a speech community from neighbouring communities which have greater status and prestige. • Lower-class speakers are more influential in spreading less conscious linguistic changes.
Reasons for language change • Gender and language change • Women lead changes towards both prestige and vernacular forms. e.g. Women in Ucieda, Spain led changes towards the standard form to show their social aspirations.
Reasons for language change e.g. Women in Clonard, Belfast introduce vernacular forms from Ballymacarrett, because the both Clonard and Ballymacarrett are working-class communities, and Ballymacarett is more prestigious. Also, women in Clonard have a close- knit multiplex network. They are employed in poor city stores in shopping areas. They develop work and leisure patterns that resemble those of male groups.
Reasons for language change • Gender and language change • Men lead changes towards vernacular forms only. e.g. Men in Martha’s Vineyard led a change to a more vernacular form to show their loyalty to an older set of values. e.g. Upper-working-class men in Norwich are leading a sound change away from RP towards vernacular forms to show the solidarity of working men.
Reasons for language change • Interaction and language change • Linguistic changes progress most slowly in tightly knit communities which have little contact with the outside world. e.g. Gaelic in Scotland Maori in the far north of New Zealand Iceland
Reasons for language change • Interaction and language change • Media expose people to new form in speech, but face-to-face interaction is crucial for linguistic change Example 10
Test Date: 20 May 2014 (Tuesday) Time: 11:30-13:30 Range: Holmes Chapters 1-9 Handouts Remark: 40%, no re-take
Types of questions • Theory-based questions • Application questions
Theory-based questions In sociolinguistic surveys, there are two technical terms which are useful for describing social networks. The first one is ______________, which refers to whether members of a person’s network are in touch with each other. (2%) The second one is ______________, which is a measure of the range of different types of transaction people are involved in with different individuals in your social network. (2%)
Application questions In a speech community both Hungarian and German are in use. Study the data set, and comment in terms of: 1. domain (4%) 2. code-switching (4%) 3. language shift (4%)