Language Change: Progress Or Decay?
Cambridge University Press, 2001 - 312 sider
This lucid and up-to-date overview of language change. It discusses where our evidence about language change comes from, how and why changes happen, and how languages begin and end. It considers both changes which occurred long ago, and those currently in progress. It does this within the framework of one central question - is language change a symptom of progress or decay? It concludes that language is neither progressing nor decaying, but that an understanding of the factors surrounding change is essential for anyone concerned about language alteration. For this substantially revised third edition, Jean Aitchison has included two new chapters on change of meaning and grammaticalization. -- Publisher description.
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The everwhirling wheel The inevitability of change
Collecting up clues Piecing together the evidence
Charting the changes Studying changes in progress
Spreading the word From person to person
Conflicting loyalties Opposing social pressures
Catching on and taking off How sound changes spread through a language
Caught in the web How syntactic changes work through a language
The wheels of language Grammaticalization
The Mad Hatters teaparty Chain reaction changes
Development and breakdown Child language and language disorders
Language birth How languages begin
Language death How languages end
Progress or decay? Assessing the situation
Symbols and technical terms
Notes and suggestions for further reading
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