Session 5: Language Change

Analogy The principle that leads speakers to apply an observed regularity to additional contexts: strive : strived : strived
Anglicism A word or expression of English origin used in another language
Anticipatory assimilation The assimilation of an earlier sound to a following sound: Latin inbibere > imbibere (> PDE imbibe)
Assimilation The modified realization of a phoneme to match (more closely) its context: <own goal> /ˌəʊŋ 'gəʊl/
Code-switching Using different languages or dialects for different aspects of life
Cognate A word that goes back to the same origins as another word in the same or another language: twig and Zweig; food and feed
Creole A language with native speakers originally developed to be used between speakers who share no common language (i.e. as a pidgin)
Descriptive grammar The rules of language use as deduced from actual language use: The constructions “to go boldly” and “to boldly go” are both valid because both are commonly used
Diachronic variation Change over time: OE dīc > ME dik > PDE dike
Elision The omission of one or more sounds (to ease pronunciation): <knight> /'nɑɪt/
Epenthesis The addition of sounds (to ease pronunciation): /'nju:kjʊlə/ instead of /'nju:klɪə/ for <nuclear>
Haplology The loss of a syllable where two successive syllables begin with the same or similar sounds: <library> /'lɑɪbrɪ/
Idiolect The dialect spoken by a single individual
Isogloss A geographical dividing line between two linguistic features
Lag assimilation The assimilation of a later sound to a preceding sound: the devoicing of /z/ in Pete’s not here
Metathesis The reversal of the order of two successive sounds: <iron> /ɑɪərn/
Pidgin A language without native speakers developed to be used between speakers who share no common language
Prescriptive grammar The rules of grammar as authorities believe they ought to be used, regardless of actual use: Don’t split infinitives; Don’t end a sentence in a preposition
Principle of minimal effort The tendency for languages to move towards greater ease of pronunciation: <Christmas> → /'krɪsməs/
Received Pronunciation (RP) The prestigious southern English standard of pronunciation prescribed in 20th-century Britain
Regiolect A dialect defined by geographical region
Sociolect A dialect defined by social class
Synchronic variation Variation between concurrent dialects: dike vs ditch for German Graben
Syncope The loss (i.e. elision) of an unstressed vowel from the interior of a word: OE heofod → heafdes; ON himinn → himni