Context of Language Change

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  Some context for AQA A2 Language Change
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  • 1. C H A N G I N G C O N T E X T S Language Change
  • 2. Link to BBC English timeline http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/launch_tl_ages _english.shtml
  • 3. Timeline of the English Language Old English (5th-11th centuries): the development of English from the linguistic influence of Germanic and Viking invaders. Middle English (11th-14th centuries): the mixing of French with English after the Norman Early Modern English (15th-17th centuries): the continual process of change, as English discarded older forms of word order and word endings and added Latin words for new concepts and ideas. Late Modern English (18th century-present): the age of standardised English.
  • 4. Changing attitudes and changing contexts Attitudes change with regard to key social contexts of power, gender and technology. E.g. Gender: Issues of political correctness might be evident in contemporary texts discussing gender by using ‘birth name’ instead of ‘maiden name’. E.g. Power: Different formality levels might be used by writers and speakers to suggest a changed relationship with their audience e.g. Compare political speeches from 1700 to present/ look at changing language of advertising. E.g. Technology: texting and instant messaging have polarised views lately, reviving prescriptivist and descriptivist debates (link to homework).
  • 5. Why does Language Change over Time? To do with people as they:  Invent things and need words to describe them  Change attitudes because of changes in society, or are influenced by others such as politicians or the media  Travel to, move to, trade with or invade other countries
  • 6. Migration, Travel & the British Empire  People move to different parts of the world taking their language and culture with them  Introduced language is absorbed into the local one or  Introduced language becomes dominant in colonised countries e.g. British Empire (lang of power & govt)  English lang has borrowed extensively to accommodate new foods and cultural experiences e.g. ‘curry’, ‘tea’ (own versions); ‘tapas’, ‘cappuccino’ (original)
  • 7. Globalisation Definition: This is the integration of economies, industries, markets, cultures and policy-making around the world... a process by which national and regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transportation. (Financial Times Lexicon)  Developed English into a world language (impact of technology and American English)
  • 8. Wars or Invasions  Impact of Norman Conquest and Germanic tribes over 1000 years ago  Affects language grammatically, phonologically and lexically  Many synonyms because of invaders e.g. Old English ‘ask’/ French ‘question’  Language of warfare still affects words e.g. ‘Collateral damage’, ‘surgical strikes’
  • 9. The language of Science & Technology  Many scientific advances in C18th and C19th so neologisms (new words) were needed to name these  Due to academic prestige of Latin and Greek, many neologisms were formed using these languages  Sometimes we recycle words or use words with higher status (Latin and Greek) for scientific and medical inventions today
  • 10. Trade, Working Practices and New Inventions  New words needed to name inventions and describe what you can do with them
  • 11. Trade, Working Practices and New Inventions Even our surnames have links to occupations and past working practices:  Miller  Butcher  Baker
  • 12. Social, ideological and cultural changes  Changes in attitudes result in language alterations  People’s views about social groups change  Today we discriminate less against certain groups and are more politically correct  e.g. When talking about ethnicity, gender or sexuality  Interesting to trace how fashion influences our lexicon (‘winklepickers’, ‘thongs’, ‘pantaloons’)
  • 13. The Media  Arguably a more casual, colloquial and speech-like register has evolved as media styles become less formal  Lexis often introduced via the media e.g. WAG  Media reaches us in many different ways (print, tv, internet, mobile phones)
  • 14. A very brief guide to … The history of the English language
  • 15.  Before 100 BC, Britain was populated by a mixture of tribes, including the Celts, Picts, Irish and Cornish.  They all spoke a variety of Celtic languages. Early beginnings
  • 16.  In the 5th century AD, settlers from west Germany crossed over to Britain.  These tribes were called Saxons, Jutes and Angles, and set up kingdoms called ‘East Anglia’, ‘West Saxon’, ‘East Saxon’ etc.  They spoke a dialect of the Germanic language and this slowly evolved into the English we speak today. The origins of English
  • 17.  The language spoken by the Germanic settlers developed differently to the forms found in what is now known as Germany.  This early form of English is known as ‘Old English’. Old English (c. 400–1100 AD)
  • 18.  Viking invaders started arriving in north east England in the 8th century.  Parts of their Scandinavian language (which is closely related to Germanic languages too) , including words describing family and animals, spread through northern England.  These words were integrated into Old English. Influences during the Old English period
  • 19.  When the Normans invaded in 1066, French became the dominant language (of court, the church, and the nobility) while the rest of the country spoke versions of English.  Gradually, English became more widely used by the educated upper classes and by 1425 English was used universally again in speech and writing.  However, it had changed completely since the Old English period and became known as Middle English. Middle English (c. 1100–1450 AD)
  • 20.  In 1476, William Caxton introduced the printing press to Britain.  Many texts could now be mass-produced, which meant that there was a move towards standardisation in how they were printed, in terms of spelling and punctuation.  Many Greek and Latin texts were translated into English.  Caxton chose the East Midlands (London, Oxford, Cambridge) dialect to print works in. This soon became the most prestigious form of English. Early Modern English c.1470–1700
  • 21.  In 1476, William Caxton introduced the printing press to Britain.  Many texts could now be mass-produced, which meant that there was a move towards standardisation in how they were printed, in terms of spelling and punctuation.  Many Greek and Latin texts were translated into English.  Caxton chose the East Midlands (London, Oxford, Cambridge) dialect to print works in. This soon became the most prestigious form of English. Early Modern English c.1470–1700
  • 22.  More than half of our modern English vocabulary is Latinate (of Latin origin), e.g. colossal, dignified, emotion, and history.  Most of our prefixes and suffixes come from Latin, e.g. anti-, post-, pre-, -al, -ate, -ic. Influences of Latin
  • 23.  From 1700 onwards, English became more standardised and similar to the language we recognise today.  In 1755, Samuel Johnson finished the first ‘Dictionary of English’. Many writers had attempted this before but his version was more comprehensive than ever before.  In 1762, Robert Lowth published the first English grammar book, which laid out some of the fundamental rules for ‘correct’ usage. Late Modern English c. 1700 – modern day
  • 24.  During this time, many writers made attempts to define the lexicon and grammar of English (Johnson, Lowth etc).  This led to a view that some non-standard varieties of English were inferior – this is called Prescriptivism.  Latin was upheld as the ideal language and used a model for English grammar, even though it had a very different structure. Standardisation and presctiptivism
  • 25.  Rail travel, colonial expansion, the spread of literacy and mass production of the printed word extended everyone’s access to a standard written form of English.  The Industrial Revolution changed the way people worked and lived their lives, so new words were needed.  English borrowed huge numbers of words from all over the world.  American English was becoming a language in its own right, with its own rules and spelling. 19th century English
  • 26.  English is now a world language of communication.  Electronic media like mobile phones and the internet have radically changed the way we communicate with each other.  A more colloquial and casual style of language reflects major social changes.  Estuary English (a south-eastern dialect) has become widespread in UK.  American English increasingly influences British English and English worldwide. Modern developments
  • 27. Links  As well as the BBC timeline (on ilearn) the British Library interactive timeline is excellent:  http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/timeline/index.ht ml
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