Midterm study guide - Historical Linguistics.docx

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Chandan Narayan

Historical Linguistics Periods in the history of English There are three major periods of English: Old English (approx. 450 to 1100 AD)  This English is pretty much incomprehensible  Word orders in this time period would not work in modern times  The –an suffix indicates both plurality and past tense  Certain words have disappeared from the lexicon Middle English (1100 to 1500 AD)  The Great Vowel Shift began in this period and continued on until the 18 th century Modern English (1500 to today) Reasons behind some language change Articulatory simplification: typically related to helping the ease of articulation. May delete a consonant from a cluster or insert a vowel to break up a cluster.  Example  fifths Perceptual bias: people pick up pronunciations of words from how other people say them and how they perceive this. This can lead to auditory overlap that causes a change.  Mouth  [mowf] Spelling pronunciation: this occurs when a speaker uses the spelling of a word (which can be very different from how it is actually pronounced) as the pronunciation.  Example  ‘often’ Analogy: the following of a regular pattern over an irregular pattern. This is typically an extension or overgeneralization.  sing/sang  bring/brang Reanalysis: very common with morphological change. It usually involves making a word into a compound when it was not originally supposed to be a compound  Hamburger (used to mean ‘from Hamburg’)  has changed to ‘burger’ as a root with things such as ‘veggie’, ‘chicken’ acting as affixes Language contact: Occurs when the speakers of one language interact frequently with the speakers of another language. This leads to borrowing: where one language takes words from another language and incorporates it as their own.  ‘totem’ and ‘canoe’ were Aboriginal words that were incorporated into English Hypercorrection: occurs when a speaker tries to speak another language and overgeneralizes particular rules. Types of sound change = Phonological Change (how something sounds) Sequential Change – sound change that involves sequences of segments Assimilation – in which one segment influences another that is close by, used for simplification of articulation  Place of articulation assimilation: the place of articulation changes so that the place is similar to the sound next to it  Manner of articulation assimilation: the manner of articulation changes so that the manner is similar to the sound next to it  Palatalization: the effect that front vowels and [j] have on velars, alveolars, and dental stops. It makes their place of articulation more palatal. o Palatization is usually the first step of affrication  Affrication: when palatal stops become affricates. o [ts] or [tʃ] if the stop was voiceless o [dz] or [dʒ] if the stop was voiced  Nasalization: the effect nasal consonants can have on adjacent vowels  Umlaut: The effect of a vowel of one syllable on the vowel of another syllable. Usually results in a front, unrounded vowels Dissimilation – one segment is made less like another segment. Occurs much less frequently than assimilation Epenthesis – the insertion of a consonant or vowel into a particular environment  Can be in anticipation of an upcoming sound  Can be used to break up a sequence of sounds that would be difficult to pronounce Metathesis – a change in the relative positioning of segments Weakening and Deletion of Vowels – deletion usually involves syncope and apocope. Deletion is usually preceeded by vowel reduction.  Vowel Reduction: in which a full vowel is reduced to a schwa-like sound. Typically affects short vowels in unstressed syllables.  Syncope: word internal vowel  Apocope: word final vowel Weakening and Deletion of Consonants – deletion is a very common sound change ([knot]  [not])  Degemination – geminates (long consonants) are weakened to non-geminates. o Consonant strength – geminates are stronger than non-geminates o Order – voiceless stops; voiceless fricat
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