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Dialect Change

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  1. Language Change Pidgins and Creoles Historical Linguistics Language Change

  2. Reminder: Exam #1 is 9/25! • Review sheet is online • PowerPoint slides – print them out or get copies in 509 Williams for 10 cents/page • www.uvm.edu/~jadickin/anthropology 28.html • Use the link to the textbook website – there are flashcards and other tools to help study textbook material

  3. REVIEW SESSION MONDAY 9/24 7 PM in Williams room 402 Also, I will have extra office hours Monday 9/24 from 12 to 2

  4. Review: types of language change See the “Language Change” handout • External change • Internal change • Structural borrowing • Lexical borrowing • Functional shift • Semantic shift

  5. Semantic inversion A form of semantic shift where a word takes on the opposite meaning. Semantic inversion is very common in slang and other vocabulary systems designed to exclude outsiders (e.g. “thieves’ jargons”) Examples: Def (death) = good Gnarly = good Sick = good

  6. Lexical Borrowing – Lee article The online reading by Margaret Lee focuses on lexical borrowing of African American words or expressions into a mainstream newspaper Lee found words in use that had been borrowed into mainstream American English during different periods of American history

  7. “Scope” of prestige While Lee found many examples of borrowings from African American English into mainstream newspaper writing, she also showed that the prestige associated with African American English is concentrated in areas such as entertainment, sports, and celebrity news

  8. Social Factors in Vocabulary Change At any point in a language change, some members of the group will speak the “old” way and some will speak the new way. This can create or reinforce social boundaries. What are some social boundaries that language change creates or reinforces?

  9. Our “new word” • What will give the word “legs”? • What areas of our vocabulary seem to be the most “productive” for new words? • Try to come up with a new word – semantic shift, coinage, clipping etc.

  10. Endangered Languages

  11. Language Shift/Death One result of language contact can be language shift, where speakers begin to speak a new language and stop speaking their former language. Over time, this can result in language death. This phenomenon is happening all over the world, and has already happened to many Native American languages in the U.S.

  12. Three stages of language death • In language shift, people begin to use one language more than another, and may encourage their children to pick the new language. Eventually, the community is using one language, not the other. • A language is moribund if no children are learning the language as their first language • A language is dead if there are no living speakers of the language.

  13. Language Revitalization • Language revitalization is an attempt to “resurrect” a language that is moribund through increasing the number of people who are learning and speaking the language • Language revitalization programs focus on getting people to learn and speak a dying language and teach it to their children • More on this in Week 14!

  14. Language ideology Revitalization programs often must work against social ideas about or prejudices against the dying language. For example, the language may not be considered “modern,” or may be associated with lack of education, negative ethnic stereotypes, or be considered “old-fashioned” Example from our readings: Garifuna

  15. Garifuna • Garifuna is spoken in Belize and some other Central American countires • Total number of current speakers is about 100,000 • Garifuna is an Arawakan language spoken in Central America

  16. Garifuna: “shame” and shift • Code choice in a mixed population in Belize – Garifuna vs. Belizian Creole • Speak Garifuna and identify with your ethnic group, or English Creole and identify as Belizean? • Children are ashamed to speak Garifuna because it marks them as poor and “backward” • Parents feel that speaking Garifuna is a sign of pride in who you are

  17. Exam question on Garifuna • The essay question on the review sheet asks you to be able to describe the language situation in Belize – what is the official language? What other languages are spoken? What is the nature of language shift among Garifuna children, and what reasons does the author give for the shift?

  18. Writing systems

  19. Types of Writing Systems Ottenheimer, Chapter 7 • Logographic writing systems – written symbols represent entire words (Chinese) • Syllabic writing systems – symbols represent syllables (Inuit) • Alphabetic writing systems – symbols represent individual sounds (Roman)

  20. Example of Inuktitut (Inuit) Syllabic writing systems were introduced to many Native American groups by missionaries and traders in the 1800’s Eastern Inuktitut speakers adopted syllabics, while other groups use Roman or Cyrillic alphabets.

  21. Inuktitut Syllabary

  22. Writing and Technology • In the 1960’s, IBM created a typewriter that could type Inuktitut syllabics • Not all the characters would fit, so one set of syllabics was removed (AI-PAI-TAI) • With new computer fonts, these characters have been restored to the syllabary

  23. Writing and Standardization • Writing systems are essential to developing a written standard for a language (duh) • Writing systems may be chosen for convenience, for linguistic reasons, or for ideological reasons • Even after the writing system has been chosen, there may be a lot of negotiation about which dialect(s) the written standard will be closest to • However, having a written language can improve the social status of a language and make it easier to teach, helping revitalization efforts.

  24. Pidgins and Creoles The production of new languages in contact situations

  25. Pidgins • A pidgin is a trade “language” – actually it is grammatically simpler in form than a true language and does not have full elaboration of function. • Over time, as people expand the situations in which they use a pidgin, it can be come fully elaborated and then become a creole, through the process of creolization.

  26. Creoles When a highly elaborated pidgin (one with that can serve all the communication needs of its speakers) reaches the point where children are learning it as their first language, it has become a creole, a fully functional and elaborated language that emerged from the interaction of two or more languages. This process is called creolization.

  27. Power and Creoles • Creolization occurs in situations where one language is associated with more power than another. Some people limit “creoles” to languages that arise in cases of forced movement or colonization. • The language on which a creole is based is called the “matrix language.”

  28. Example • Hatian Kreyol - a French creole spoken in Haiti • French is the matrix language, but West African languages contributed phonology, vocabulary and some elements of the syntax.

  29. Examples from “Next Year’s Words”

  30. Creole Continuum The creole continuum extends from “deep” creole, usually spoken by people at the bottom of a stratified system, to a standard form of the matrix language. Barbadian----------B. Creole-------Barbadian Creole (medium) English (deep)

  31. Tok Pisin • Tok Pisin is a creole language spoken in Papua New Guinea that is rapidly gaining speakers. One of 2 official languages of Papua New Guinea • Tok Pisin has been standardized and is used in written language, broadcasting, and oral communication. You can even search the internet in Tok Pisin.

  32. Krio • Krio is an English creole language that is one of the official languages of Sierra Leone. • 4,000,000 speakers, about 10% are native speakers [around 23 languages are spoken in Sierra Leone]

  33. Jamaican Creole • Grammatically distinct from English. Some examples: di woman dem = the women • Mi ron = I run (habitually); I ran • Mi a ron = I am running • Mi ena (en+a) ron = I was running • Mi en ron = I have run; I had run

  34. Variations in New Englishes • She is knowing her science very well (E. Africa) • I graduate there in 1990. (PNG) • Before I always go to that market (Malaysia) ------- • pay attention on it (India) • -You didn’t come by car? (India) - Yes, I didn’t. ------- Don’t kacho me when I want to work! (Malaysia) When we get home, we ask daddy to changkol the garden (Singapore)

  35. Historical Linguistics Historical Linguistics is the study of how languages change and develop over time, and how languages are related to each other.

  36. “Laziness” Principle This principle argues that changes in pronunciation happen because deleting or changing sounds in a word results in a pronunciation that requires less effort. I AM becomes I’m mylne (Old English) becomes mill

  37. The Great Vowel Shift A shift in the entire vowel system of English taking place in the 15th and 16th centuries. Each changes was part of a “domino effect” Seven Middle English vowels were altered over this period: Middle English Modern English Meaning [hu:s] [haws] house [wi:f] [wayf] wife [go:s] [gu:s] goose [na:mə] [ne:m] name [hɔ:m] [ho:m] home [sɛ:] [si:] sea

  38. Northern Cities Vowel Shift A “chain shift” in the vowels of the dialects spoken in urban areas around the Great Lakes (Detroit, Chicago, etc.) http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~lsp/Northeast/ncshift/ncshift.html

  39. Ottenheimer points out: Dialect variation and change is not new – there is evidence of dialect variation in every language that has an ancient alphabetic writing system. How does written evidence work? Spelling conventions that reflect pronunciation Rhymes/puns in poetry

  40. Indo-European 1776 - Sir William Jones argues that Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) and European languages are related This argument says that there is a Proto-Indo-European language from which most European and Indian subcontinent languages descended A protolanguage is an ancient language from which other languages of a given family or group are descended

  41. The Indo-European Family

  42. Comparative Method Looks for cognates (related words) in each language e.g. “two” Bengali dvi Danish to Greek duo Irish do Russian dva German zwei

  43. English, Dutch, German (pp. 220-1) Eng. Dutch German day dag Tag fish vis Fisch soft zacht sanft round rond rund

  44. Regularities Historical linguistics relies on the fact that large changes in languages usually follow “rules” that affect many different words and sounds at the same time For example, as a language changes, all the unvoiced stops at the start of a word may become voiced, so t’s become d’s, p’s become b’s and so forth. Meanwhile, another, related language may not be changing, or may change by a different rule. In the last example, [f] and [s] in English are [v] and [z] in Dutch.

  45. Regionality • Often, language changes happen in different regions and at different times • When languages move far enough away from each other, they become distinct and may even end up in different groups (e.g. Germanic vs. Slavic languages, which both descend from Proto-Indo-European)

  46. Common words By tracing common words across all the Indo-European languages, we can tell some things about the world of Proto-Indo-European – which trees and animals people talked about, what concepts they had, etc.

  47. Take away points: • All languages are changing all the time, at many different levels • Language change does not make languages “better” or “worse,” just different • All languages, whether recent creoles or ones with a long written history are equally “evolved.”

  48. Don’t forget! • Review session with TA’s Monday, 9/24 7-8 pm in Williams 402