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Language Change Progress or Decay?

ISBN-10: 0521795354
ISBN-13: 9780521795357
Edition: 3rd 2000 (Revised)
List price: $39.99
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Description: This is a lucid and up-to-date overview of language change. It discusses where our evidence about language change comes from, how and why changes happen, and how languages begin and end. It considers both changes which occurred long ago, and those  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.99
Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/11/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 324
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

This is a lucid and up-to-date overview of language change. It discusses where our evidence about language change comes from, how and why changes happen, and how languages begin and end. It considers both changes which occurred long ago, and those currently in progress. It does this within the framework of one central question - is language change a symptom of progress or decay? It concludes that language is neither progressing nor decaying, but that an understanding of the factors surrounding change is essential for anyone concerned about language alteration. For this substantially revised third edition, Jean Aitchison has included two new chapters on change of meaning and grammaticalization. Sections on new methods of reconstruction and ongoing chain shifts in Britain and America have also been added as well as over 150 new references. The work remains non-technical in style and accessible to readers with no previous knowledge of linguistics.

After many years lecturing with the University of London (at the London School of Economics and Political Science), Jean Aitchison was Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford (1993 2003) and is now an Emeritus Professor. She is the author of a number of books on language, including The Language Web (Cambridge University Press, 1997).

Preliminaries
The ever-whirling wheel: the inevitability of change
Collecting up clues: piecing together the evidence
Charting the changes: studying changes in progress
Transition
Spreading the word: from person to person
Conflicting loyalties: opposing social pressures
Catching on and taking off: how sound changes spread through a language
Caught in the web: how syntactic changes work through a language
The wheels of language: grammaticalization
Slip slidin' away: change of meaning
The reason why: sociolinguistic causes of change
Doing what comes naturally: inherent causes of language change
Repairing the patterns: therapeutic changes
The Mad Hatter's tea-party: chain reaction changes
Development and breakdown: child language and language disorders
Language birth: how languages begin
Language death: how languages end
Progress or decay?: assessing the situation

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