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How Language Changes

Group Name : Anggi Noviyanti

: Ardiansyah
: Dwi Prihartono
: Indah Sari Manurung
: Rikha Mirantika
Types of Language Change
Generation by generation, pronunciations evolve, new words are borrowed or
invented, the meaning of old words drifts, and morphology develops or
 In isolated subpopulations speaking the same language, most changes will
not be shared. As a result, such subgroups will drift apart linguistically, and
eventually will not be able to understand one another.
 In the modern world, language change is often socially problematic. Long
before divergent dialects lose mutual intelligibility completely, they begin to
show difficulties and inefficiencies in communication, especially under noisy
or stressful conditions. Also, as people observe language change, they
usually react negatively, feeling that the language has "gone down hill".
You never seem to hear older people commenting that the language of
their children or grandchildren's generation has improved compared to the
language of their own youth.
 Here is a puzzle: language change is functionally disadvantageous, in that
it hinders communication, and it is also negatively evaluated by socially
dominant groups. Nevertheless is is a universal fact of human history.
How and why does language change?

There are many different routes to language change. Changes can take
originate in language learning, or through language contact, social
differentiation, and natural processes in usage .
 Natural processes in usage . Rapid or casual speech naturally produces
processes such as assimilation ,
 dissimilation , syncope and apocope . Through repetition, particular cases
may become conventionalized, and therefore produced even in slower or
more careful speech. Word meaning change in a similar way, through
conventionalization of processes like metaphor and metonymy
 Some linguists distinguish between internal and external sources of
language change, with "internal" sources of change being those that occur
within a single languistic community, and contact phenomena being the
main examples of an external source of change.
The analogy with evolution via natural

Darwin himself, in developing the concept of evolution of species via natural

selection, made an analogy to the evolution of languages.
There are some key differences between grammars/lexicons and genotypes.
For one thing, linguistic traits can be acquired throughout one's life from many
different sources, although intitial acquisition and (to a lesser extent)
adolescence seem to be crucial stages. Acquired (linguistic) traits can also be
passed on to others.
In particular, the basic sound structure and morphology of languages usually
seems to "descend" via a tree-structured graph of inheritance, with regular,
lawful relationships between the patterns of "parent" and "child" languages.
Types of Change

1. Sound change
In the cases where we have access to several historical stages -- for instance,
the development of the modern Romance Languages from Latin -- these
sound changes are remarkably regular. Techniques developed in such cases
permit us to reconstruct the sound system -- and some of the vocabulary -- of
unattested parent languages from information about daughter languages.
In some cases, an old sound becomes a new sound across the board. Such a
change occurred in Hawai'ian, in that all the " t" sounds in an older form of the
language became " k"s: at the time Europeans encountered Hawai'ian, there
were no " t"s in it at all, though the closely related languages Tahitian, Samoan,
Tongan and Maori all have " t"s.
Types of Change
2. Processes of sound change.
 Another dimension along which we can look at sound change is by
classifying changes according to the particular process involved.
 Assimilation, or the influence of one sound on an adjacent sound, is
perhaps the most pervasive process. Assimilation processes changed Latin
/k/ when followed by /i/ or /y/, first to /ky/, then to "ch", then to /s/, so that
Latin faciat /fakiat/ 'would make' became fasse /fas/ in Modern French
(the subjunctive of the verb faire 'to make').Palatalization is a kind of
 In contrast to assimilation, dissimilation, metathesis, and haplology tend to
occur more sporadically, i.e., to affect individual words. Dissimilation
involves a change in one of two 'same' sounds that are adjacent or almost
adjacent in a particular word such that they are no longer the same.
How do we know how languages are
Linguists rely on systematic sound changes to establish the relationships between
languages. The basic idea is that when a change occurs within a speech
community, it gets diffused across the entire community of speakers of the
Languages that share innovations are considered to have shared a common
history apart from other languages, and are put on the same branch of the
language family tree.
Sound changes work to change the actual phonetic form of the word in the
different languages, but we can still recognize them as originating from a common
source because of the regularities within each language. For example, a change
happened in Italian such that in initial consonant clusters, the l that originally
followed p and f changed to i. Thus Italian words like fiore 'flower'; fiume 'river';
pioggia 'rain'; and piuma 'feather' are cognates with the French fleur; fleuve; pluie;
and plume, respectively, and with Spanish flora, fluvial (adj. 'riverine'); lluvia (by a
later change); and pluma respectively.
What are the results of language change?

When accompanied by splits of populations, language change results first

in dialect divergence (the kinds of differences we see between British and
American English; between the French of France and of Quebec; between
New World and Old World Spanish and Portuguese). Over longer time periods,
we see the emergence of separate languages as in the contemporary
Romance languages, separated by about 2000 years, and the Germanic
languages, whose divergence began perhaps 500 years earlier. Both of these
families are part of Indo-European , for which the Ethnologue web page lists
425 languages! Though political considerations often intervene in whether a
particular speech variety is considered to be a language or a dialect, the
basic idea behind linguistic classifications is that dialects are mutually
intelligible, whereas languages are not.
Linguistic reconstruction

 Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an

unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are
two kinds of reconstruction:
 Internal reconstruction uses irregularities in a single language to make
inferences about an earlier stage of that language – that is, it is based on
evidence from that language alone.
In texts concerning linguistic reconstruction, reconstructed forms are
commonly prefaced with an asterisk (*), to distinguish them from attested
The comparative method

The comparative method in historical linguistics is concerned with the

reconstruction of an earlier language or earlier state of a language on the
basis of a comparison of related words and expressions in different languages
or dialects derived from it. The comparative method was developed in the
course of the 19th century for the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and
was subsequently applied to the study of other language families. It depends
upon the principle of regular sound change—a principle that, as explained
above, met with violent opposition when it was introduced into linguistics by
the Neogrammarians in the 1870s but by the end of the century had become
part of what might be fairly described as the orthodox approach to historical
linguistics. Changes in the phonological systems of languages through time
were accounted for in terms of sound laws.
Internal reconstruction
The comparative method is used to reconstruct earlier forms of a language by
drawing upon the evidence provided by other related languages. It may be
supplemented by what is called the method of internal reconstruction. This is
based upon the existence of anomalous or irregular patterns of formation and
the assumption that they must have developed, usually by sound change,
from earlier regular patterns. For example, the existence of such patterns in
early Latin as honos : honoris (“honor” : “of honor”) and others in contrast
with orator : oratoris (“orator” : “of the orator”) and others might lead to the
supposition that honoris developed from an earlier *honosis. In this case, the
evidence of other languages shows that *s became r between vowels in an
earlier period of Latin. But it would have been possible to reconstruct the
earlier intervocalic *s with a fair degree of confidence on the basis of the
internal evidence alone. Clearly, internal reconstruction depends upon the
structural approach to linguistics.
Definition of dialect

A regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary,

grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting
together with them a single language <the Doric dialect of ancient Greek>
one of two or more cognate languages <French and Italian are Romance
dialects> a variety of a language used by the members of a group <such
dialects as politics and advertising — Philip Howard> a variety of language
whose identity is fixed by a factor other than geography (as social class)
<spoke a rough peasant dialect> register 4c a version of a computer
programming language manner or means of expressing oneself : phraseology
Definition of accent
An articulative effort giving prominence to one syllable over adjacent
syllables; also : the prominence thus given a syllable a distinctive manner of
expression: as an individual's distinctive or characteristic inflection, tone, or
choice of words — usually used in plural a way of speaking typical of a
particular group of people and especially of the natives or residents of a
region rhythmically significant stress on the syllables of a verse usually at
regular intervals archaic : utterance a : a mark (as ´, `, ˆ) used in writing or
printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words
otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel
should be pronounced an accented letter a greater stress given to one
musical tone than to its neighbors accent mark 2 a emphasis laid on a part of
an artistic design or composition an emphasized detail or area; especially a
small detail in sharp contrast with its surroundings a substance or object used
for emphasis a mark placed to the right of a letter or number and usually
slightly above it as a double prime prime special concern or attention :
emphasis <an accent on youth>
What is the difference between dialect and

A common mistake is to confuse a dialect with an accent, muddling up the

difference between words people use and the sounds they make, their
pronunciation. If vocabulary and grammar are being considered alongside
pronunciation, then ‘dialect’ is a reasonable term to use. But often, when
claiming to discuss a dialect, someone will concentrate just on pronunciations.
If what is being spoken about are sounds alone—that is, accent—then the
area of language study is rather pronunciation, or phonology.
What is the difference between dialect and

Accent, or pronunciation, is a special element of a dialect that needs

separate attention to be properly understood. A famous distinction in
pronunciation in England is the so-called ‘BATH vowel’, the quality of the ‘a’
sound differing between north and south. For example, someone from Leeds,
in the north of England, would typically pronounce ‘bath’ with the short ‘a’ of
‘cat’, whereas someone from Oxford, in the south of England, would typically
pronounce ‘bath’ with the long ‘a’ of ‘father’. Another distinction, still more
significant on the world stage, concerns the issue of rhoticity, i.e. whether or
not a written ‘r’ is sounded when it follows a vowel, for example in the words
‘car’ and ‘butter’. Whilst most people in England and Wales do not pronounce
the ‘r’ (and are therefore non-rhotic), many in South-West England and parts
of Lancashire do. In this they are joined by most Scots and Irish speakers of
English, and by the majority of North Americans. Rhoticity is in fact numerically
and geographically the dominant form in world terms.