An Historical Study of English: Function, Form and Change by Jeremy Smith

By Jeremy Smith

Via his research of chosen significant advancements within the background of English, Jeremy Smith argues that the heritage of the language can basically be understood from a dynamic point of view. He proposes that inner linguistic mechanisms for language swap can't be meaningfully defined in isolation or regardless of exterior linguistic components. Smith offers the reader with an available synthesis of modern advancements in English historic linguistics. His book:   appears on the thought and method of linguistic historiography . Considers the foremost alterations in writing structures, pronunciation and grammar.  Provides examples of those adjustments, corresponding to the standardisation of spellings and accessory and the origins of the good Vowel Shift specializes in the origins of 2 non-standard forms; eighteenth century Scots and 20th century British Black English.This ebook makes interesting examining for college students of English historic linguistics, and is an unique, very important and primarily, full of life contribution to the sphere.

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As will be further discussed in Chapter 3, languages borrow material from other languages as well as inherit it from their ancestors, and the further back the reconstruction is taken, and the more languages there are for comparison, the smaller the amount of inherited material there is. 6 Internal reconstruction (after Lehmann 1992:163) tick ticker ticking ticks red redder sin sinner sinning sins black blacker bid bidder bidding bids fast faster hit hitter hitting hits fat fatter the processes involved in linguistic change.

When linguists refer to linguistic change, they tend to refer to implementation and diffusion, that is, the systemic development. Corresponding to natural selection in language are the constraints which govern communication within a given speech-community and therefore regulate the processes of implementation of change. These are the constraints of pragmatic interaction and of social setting; thus usage can only vary in so far as it remains broadly meaningful to the interlocutor, and there are powerful forces to do with social stigmatisation which constrain expression in other ways.

It follows from this formula that, unlike in biology, acquired characteristics in language can be inherited, for—for instance—English speakers can take on French vocabulary and integrate it into a system which can be then passed on to their successor language-users (see Dawkins 1986:292). We shall be returning to this distinction on pages 49–50 below. LINGUISTIC VARIATION AND CONSTRAINT Corresponding in language to the minute mutations of biological evolution are linguistic variants. All living languages vary—the only ones which do not are dead ones, such as Latin, or formal ones, such as mathematical or logical notations.

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