Study of Language Change and Its Causes


Date Posted: 9/11/2018 5:13:42 AM

Posted By: Geniuslife  Membership Level: Bronze  Total Points: 22

Language change is a variation over time of a language in the features of a language such as: phonetics, morphology, semantics,and syntax. All languages change over time and vary from one place to another. They may change as a result of social or political pressures such as invasion, colonization,immigration.
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Language change may lead to permanent alterations in the features and the use of a language.


a) ECONOMY - Speakers tend to make their utterances as efficient and effective as possible to reach communicative goals. The principle of least effort tends to result in phonetic reduction of speech forms such as vowel reduction and cluster reduction. After some time a change may become widely accepted ,become a regular change and may end up being treated as standard.

b) ANALOGY - This refers to reducing word forms by likening different forms of the word to the root word.

c)LANGUAGE CONTACT - This is the borrowing of words from other languages when speakers of two or more languages or varieties interact and influence each other.

d) GEOGRAPHICAL SEPARATION - when people move away from each other their language will diverge atleast for the vocabulary due different experiences.

e) CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT- Language groups will reflect new places, situations and the object of their language whether they encounter new people there or not.

f) MIGRATION - as people migrate speakers will change and create new languages such as creoles and pidgins.

g) IMPERFECT LEARNING- children in often cases learn adult languages imperfectly, the imperfect forms may become accepted as standard in the course of time.

imperfect learning may also occur in one part of society, such as an immigrant group, where the minority language forms a substratum,

and the changed forms can ultimately influence majority usage.

f) SOCIAL PRESTIGE - language can change towards a prestigious accent in society or away from one with a negative prestige.

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