Lecture Seven Language Change I. 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. II. Change in pronunciation Examples of changes between old English and modern English Old English stan [sta:n] ham [ha:m] wrat [ra:t] rad [ra:d] Modern English stone [st] home [hm] wrote [rt] rode [rd] Examples of changes between middle English and modern English Middle English mice [m:s] mouse [m:s] broke [br:k] Modern English mice [mais] mouse [maus] broke [brk] Changes in pronunciation between the 16th and 17th century standard English and the modern English. (Difference in pronunciation between British English and American English, see Zhou, 1995, pp. 61-68) III. Morphological and syntactic change 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. 3. Process of simplification Changes reflected in case and gender. Old English Middle English ure / urum oure Modern English our 4. Loss of inflections Old English stan / slanas gear / gear Modern English stone / stones year / years IV. Vocabulary change 1. Addition of new words A. Compounding Example 1: butter + fly = butterfly! + = Example 2: Dog + House = Doghouse! + = (http://www.manatee.k12.fl.us/sites/elementary/palmasola/co mpoundwords.htm) More examples: newspaper, pigtail, sandstorm, ladybug, thumbnail, handbag B. Coinage Zipper让我联想到另外一个绝佳的生造词例子— “Zippo”。1932年美国宾夕法尼亚州的George Blaisdel发明了这种又好看且好用的打火机，他为 当时的另一项发明zipper（拉链）所着迷，所以称 他的新打火机叫作“Zippo”。这种个人定义的生造词 例子层出不穷，很多大公司商标的命名就沿用这一 创造性的做法，这些在字典中查不到的英语单词在 日常生活中却最为大众所熟知。字典永远收不尽词 汇，这是字典的遗憾，却是人类的福音—语言的更 新永无止境。 C. Clipped words gym — gymnasium expo — exposition memo — memorandum disco — discotheque burger — hamburger dozer — bulldozer quake — earthquake fridge — refrigerator script — prescription D. Blending smog — smoke + fog motel — motor + hotel brunch — breakfast + lunch camcorder — camera + recorder comsat — communication + satellite videophone — video + telephone E. Acronyms 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 F. Back-formation edit hawk beg baby-sit butch editor hawker beggar baby-sitter butcher G. Functional shift noun — verb verb — noun adjective — verb adjective — noun to knee to bug to tape to brake a hold a flyby a reject a retreat to cool to narrow to dim to slow a daily a Christian the rich the impossible H. Borrowing Origin examples Latin bonus, education, exit Greek tragedy, cycle, physics Scandinavian skirt, scorch, scatter French prince, question, coup d’etat salmon, appetite, dinner, supper, beef, pork, sardine, mutton Spanish ranch, guitar, barbecue Italian balcony, balloon, opera German beer, waltz, quarts Dutch freight, pump, buoy Chinese tea, kowtow, sampan (舢板) Russian sputnik, commissar, vodka Arabic zero, algebra, alcohol loan words Whose origins people are unaware of ceiling, judge, crime court face, jury, money, royal stomach, piano, squash, glue table orthography, cockroach, solar chair, yacht, awkward, esteem loan words with signs of their origin in the plural forms fungus — fungi memorandum — memoranda nebula — nebulae radius — radii loan words which have taken the English plural stadium — stadiums campus — campuses bandit — bandits opera — operas gymnasium — gymnasiums 2. Loss of words Evidence of loss of words from Shakespeare’s works beseem wot gyve wherefore to be suitable to know a fetter why Causes of loss of words: discontinuation of the objects. e.g. soap flakes, wash board, (in Chinese: 洋油, 洋火, 洋钉) 3. Semantic change A. Widening of meaning Example words Original meaning Widened meaning holiday holy day (religious significance any day we don’t work tail the tail of a horse the tail of any animal companion person with whom you share bread person who accompanies you Quarantine forty days’ isolation isolation time bird young bird any bird sail boats with sails boats with or without sails B. Narrowing of meaning Example words Original meaning Narrowed meaning hound general term for “dog” a special kind of dog girl young person of either sex young people of female sex deer any animal a particular kind of animal meat food edible part of an animal corn grain a particular grain C. Meaning shifting Example Original meaning words Shifted meaning inn a small hotel or pub can be a well-known large hotel (meaning elevated) nice ignorant good, fine lust pleasure with no negative or sexual overtones a very strong desire either sexual or to possess something (meaning elevated) immoral not customary living or lasting forever silly happy / naive foolish V. Some recent trends 1. Becoming more informal This trend is welcomed by people. 2. Influence coming from American English 3. Influence from science and technology Space travel Computer and internet language Ecology VI. Causes of language change 1. 2. 3. 4. Rapid development of science and technology Social and political changes Women’s liberation movements 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 References 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. Task Do the following as written exercise: 8. With examples, give some plausible explanations for linguistic change.