- Slides: 25
Language Change LING 100
How does language change proceed? § We’ve seen how language families spread and interact § How languages constantly change, and diverge when separated
Language Change § What actually changes? § § § phonetics phonology morphology syntax Semantics § We’re talking primarily about internally motivated change in this chapter, not change as a result of language contact (borrowings, etc. )
Samples of change… § P. 484 § Check out the examples of Old English all the way up to Modern English and compare them. § What kinds of changes do you see?
Sound samples… § Wanna know what OId English sounded like? § http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=7 Wl. OZ 3 bre. E § § Middle English (taken from Canterbury Tales) http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=QE 0 Mt. ENf. O MU
Sound change (Files 12. 3) § All languages contain variation at all times § Sound change is complex, and probably reflects subtle changes in the distribution of variation that accumulate over time § Keeping this in mind, we can still get some mileage out of simplifying the situation § Sound change implies an initial state of affairs § that is replaced by another state of affairs at some historical point (remember though: change is not abrupt)
Sound Change § Sound changes as a result of some phonological process (~a rule) § a new rule, or the expansion of an old one § e. g. pin~pen - some English dialects or registers have the same vowel in both words § if this rule spread to all similar environments, or all mid front lax vowels became high front lax vowels, then it would count as a sound change § this would be an example of an unconditioned sound change - the vowel changes regardless of its phonetic environment
Sound Change § An example of a conditioned sound change: § /s/ aspiration in Spanish - occurs at the end of a syllable, e. g. ¿cómo ehtás/ehtáh? § /s/ at the beginning of a word is unchanged § s / V_V also changes in some dialects, so the process would be different, but it’s still conditioned
Sound Change § Types of conditioned and unconditioned sound changes are listed in Files pp 49495 § NOTE!!! § These are closely related to the phonological processes we looked at synchronically earlier in the course § It might be good to review that chapter!
Sound Change § The big picture: § There is a close relationship between synchronic variation and diachronic sound (or other) change in language. § Changes originate as variation, then spread through the lexicon, affecting all instances of a sound (in a particular context, if it’s a conditioned change) § Once the change has spread through the whole lexicon, there’s no going back - the link to the earlier forms is broken
Sound Change - one more note § Phonemic changes alter the phonemic structure of a language § the pin~pen one we mentioned, if it took over all of English, would collapse the mid front lax and high front lax vowels into one phoneme § Phonetic changes alter allophones, but not phonemes § Spanish /s/-aspiration (/s/ becomes /h/) would create another allophone of /s/, but it’s still the same phoneme § This doesn’t necessarily correlate with whether the change is conditioned or not
Morphological Change § Refer to Files § Summary: morphological change is usually analogical, either by proportional analogy (a: b: : c: X) or by paradigm leveling (where related words are changed to look more like each other § It also results from reinterpretation (Files calls this misanalysis) (if burglar has the suffix /er/, then there must be a verb to burgle) § We also add words by various processes (see p. 500/501)
Practice! § Exercise (13), p. 518 § What sounds changes that occurred between Proto-Quechua and its daughter language Tena? § Which sounds changes are conditioned and which are unconditioned?
Syntactic Change § Consider these examples: § “father our”… § “our father” NP->N Det NP-> Det N
Syntactic Change § Also: § fæder ure § fæder urne (subject) (object) § Change in marking of grammatical function from OE to Mod. E. § OE had nominal inflection (case marking) § Mod. E based on word order
Practice § (24), p. 521
Semantic Change § Semantic extensions § OE “dog” – particular breed § Mod. E “dog” – general term § Metaphorical extension: broadcast - “to scatter seed over field” – “to send radio waves through space” § Semantic reductions § OE “hund”- referred to dogs in general § Mod. E “hound” – particular breed of dogs
Semantic Change § Semantic elevations § Positive change in connotation § knight (OE cniht) initially meant “youth”/”military follower” and later on a romanticized warrior. § Semantic degradations § Acquisition of a pejorative meaning § ME “silly” – happy, innocent § Mod. E “silly” – foolish, inane
Practice § Think of terms you use to talk about computers and actions related to using the PC. § How many of these are old words that have been put to new use? § How many are totally new words? § Why do you think this is the case?
The Comparative Method § 2 crucial assumptions § sound-meaning correspondences are arbitrary § otherwise we couldn’t tell if languages were related, or if similarity was just meaning-related § Sound chage is regular § a sound either changes completely across a language § or it changes completely, within a given phonetic environment § By this assumption, we expect sister languages to have regular sound correspondences between words with the same meaning
The Comparative Method § Goals: § to discover which languages are related § to discover why and how languages change § Protolanguages: § we either have a historical record § or we can reconstruct protoforms (e. g. proto. Indo-European *ma: te: r (mother))
The Comparative Method § Procedure (Files pp 511 ff) § compile cognate sets, eliminate borrowings § list sound correspondences across cognates § reconstruct sounds in each position § § § total correspondence most natural development Occam’s Razor (most frequent variant) § check for regularity (exceptions mean you have to revise!)
Example § A siza B sesa § Sound correspondences s>s>s i>e>i z>s>z C siza a>a>a § (p. 512) common sound changes § /s/ voices between vowels to [z] So *[s_sa] preliminary reconstruction
§ What about the vowel [i] or [e] in the 1 st syllable? § Occam’s Razor: § It is easier to posit that i > e (one change) than to say that e>i (two changes)! = > Final Reconstruction: *[sisa]
Practice § Group up and do the reconstructions pp. 523 (36), (37), (38)