Language Change: Progress Or Decay?

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Cambridge University Press, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 312 pages
6 Reviews
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.
  

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Review: Language Change: Progress or Decay? (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)

User Review  - Crystal - Goodreads

Required reading for my college Introduction to Linguistics course. Clear, fluid writing. Read full review

Review: Language Change: Progress or Decay? (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)

User Review  - Hans Henrik - Goodreads

linguistics Read full review

Contents

The everwhirling wheel The inevitability of change
3
Collecting up clues Piecing together the evidence
19
Charting the changes Studying changes in progress
37
Spreading the word From person to person
55
Conflicting loyalties Opposing social pressures
68
Catching on and taking off How sound changes spread through a language
84
Caught in the web How syntactic changes work through a language
98
The wheels of language Grammaticalization
112
The Mad Hatters teaparty Chain reaction changes
183
Development and breakdown Child language and language disorders
201
Language birth How languages begin
217
Language death How languages end
235
Progress or decay? Assessing the situation
249
Symbols and technical terms
261
Notes and suggestions for further reading
263
References
281

Spinning away Change of meaning
120
The reason why Sociolinguistic causes of change
133
Doing what comes naturally Inherent causes of language change
153
Repairing the patterns Therapeutic changes
169
Acknowledgments
304
Index
305
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

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).

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