Prepared by:
Sana Lamtara
Bouchra Arrif
Outline
Introduction
I- The Inevitability of Change
II- Aspects of Change in Written and Spoken Language
a- Examples of Changes in Spoken Language.
III- The Conservative Attitude
a- Prescriptivism
b- Positive aspects of Prescriptivism
c- Criticism.
d- Aitchison’s Attitudes to Language Change
IV- In Favor of Language Change
a- Descriptivism
b- Criticism of Descriptivism.
V- Political Correctness (PC) approach
a- Definition
b- Historical Background of the approach
c- Examples
d- Criticism.
VI- Language: a political Concern
a- Language Policy
b- Language Academies
c- Example of the French Academy (L'Académie française)
Conclusion
I- The inevitability of
change
 Change is constant
 Everything in this universe is perpetually in a state of
change.
 The most colloquial English of several hundred years ago
sounds remarkably strange to us.
 Edmund Spenser speaks of “the ever –whirling wheel of
change, the which all mortal things sway”
 The famous linguist Ferdinand De Saussure noted: “time
changes all things: There is no reason why language
should escape this universal law.”
II- change in spoken and
written language
Written Language
 Preserved
through
rules/standards
 Institutional and official
preservation:
Language
Academies
 Kept as conservative and
traditional
Spoken language
 Undergoes
on-going
change
 Fast change
 Change
happens
different levels:




Lexicon
Phonology
Morphology
Grammatical
Structures
at
Examples of changes in spoken
language
Grammatical Structures:
The negative form
Tu n’as pas dis
T’ as pas dis
Delete of negation
Morphology:
Invalid
Invaloche
Appartment
Appart (clipping)
Pronunciation:
Voila
V’là
Petit
P’tit
Lexicon :
Franc
Voler
Trouver
Frère
Sac
femme
Dollar
Buddy
Policeman
Balle
Peter
Décrocher
Frangin
Keus
Meuf
Back
Friend
Cop
Verlan Language
Original words
Words in Verlan language
•Femme
•Meuf
•Méchant
•Chan-mé
•Musique
•Zic-mu
•Chouloux
•Louches
III- The conservative
attitude
 Throughout history, conservatives have been against
language change.
 They wanted to abolish the “intruding” new linguistic
changes.
 They believe in an absolute standard of correctness.
 Language achieved a measure of excellence that should
be maintained.
 Language should be protected from the ravages of
fashion and social trends.
Background
 Lived
before the innovation
changes(middle aged or older)
 They are mostly well-educated.
 They are linguistically conservatives.
of
linguistic
Conservatives consider Language change as:
Cruel
 Sloppy
 Corruption to language

I hope Versus Hopefully
 I Hope we will arrive in time for lunch.
 Hopefully, we will arrive in time for lunch.
Is repairing Versus is being repaired

My car is repairing

My car is being repaired
Prescriptivism
 Restricts variation
 Controls future changes
 Imposes standardized rules
 Rejects existing non-standard rules
 Views non-standard varieties as inferior
Positive aspects
 It standardizes English
 helps
English speakers
communicate reliably.
around
the
world
to
Criticism
 Prescriptivism concentrates on the technical aspect of
the language and discriminates against non-standard
forms.
Aitchison’s attitudes to
language change
Aitchison described 3 different attitudes to language change:
 The crumbling castle: English language is like a beautiful
stately home that should be preserved.
 The Damp spoon syndrome: New forms arise from sheer
laziness like dipping a damp spoon into sugar.(lazy speech
occurs when muscles aren’t fully functional)
 The infectious disease: Changes in language are somehow
contagious (people pick up new words because they like them).
IV- in favor of Language
Change
 Language change is useful and necessary
 The development of English only fulfils its primary
function
 Language then is a vehicle of expression and
communication.
Background
 Generally they are young people.
 They have grown within language change.
 They don’t resist change.
 They accept and are in favor of language development.
Positive Aspects of Language
Change
Language development is viewed
because:
 It serves language
as positive

Provides ease of communication

It is useful
Corruption is no longer
vAlid…
 “Corruption” has turned to take a new positive dimension.
Example
 The Corruption of Latin has led to the appearance of new
languages: e.g. French, Spanish, …
 Speakers of these languages consider them as:
 Natural
 Rich
 Beautiful
 Expressive
Descriptivism
Attitude of Descriptivism to
Language Change
 Descriptivism views language change as natural.
 It considers language as something that evolves
and adapts:
 New forms come in
 Some drop out
 Other forms remain
Key features of Descriptivism





Describe forms of variation
Present varieties without preference
Record change as it happens
Avoid interference with change and variation
Understand use in context
Criticism towards Descriptivism
The standard form of language can be negatively
affected by the use of non-standard varieties in written
publications, school or workplace.
Definition
 Political Correctness is an approach that seeks to reduce
and remove the offence caused to particular individuals or
groups through prejudice and discrimination.
 It is believed that language can cause offence and reinforce
inequality.
 Today PC is an undoubted field of language change
Historical Background
 In 1970, with the influence of the feminist movement,
PC made gender representation in language its main
focus.
 The PC approach developed in USA and its influence
spread later to the UK.
 By early 1990’s, it was being used as a general tool for
“a neutral language”
 It isn’t restricted only to gender, but it also concerns
issues of representation in many social grouping.
Examples
PC Term
Original Term
Comments
Chairperson
Chairman
Designed to remove parts of the “generic
masculine” problem in English, where the suffix
“man” is used to refer to all people in that
position but, semantically, excludes the female
gender.
Ms
Miss/Mrs.
An alternative title for women, to redress the
imbalance of this system which indicates female
marital status but not male.
herstory
history
An extreme example in the eyes of many but put
forward as a form of positive discrimination by
some feminists to counter the appearance of the
male pronoun “his” and the symbolic
interpretation of the patriarchy of his-story.
Hearing
impaired
deaf
A phrase suggested in response to negative
connotations that had become associated with
wider uses of the word “deaf”.
vocationally
relocate
sack/to fire
An example of one of the many satirical words
PC coined.
Criticism
 PC was heavily criticized.
 By the late 1990’s, PC lost much of its credibility
Language Policy
“Language Policy is what a government does
either officially through legislation, court
decisions or policy to determine how languages
are used, cultivate language skills needed to meet
national priorities or to establish the rights of
individuals or groups to use and maintain
languages.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_policy
Institutional Regularization:
Language Academies
The Role of Language Academies




maintain and protect the language
fix the language
Give a linguistic heritage to all citizens and
everyone who speaks that language.
Maintain high standards of usage while keeping
up with the necessary evolution of Language.
These standards are maintained by:

The production of the official dictionary,
Lexicography.

The Recommendation of updates

The participation in the creation of new terms.
Historical Background
 The Academy was founded in 1635 by cardinal
Richelieu. The bylaws were signed by Louis XIII that
same year, and registered with Parliament in 1637.
 Since then, the job has belonged to the successive
kings, emperors, and heads of state of the country.
Mission
"The primary function of the Académie will be to work,
with all possible care and diligence, to give specific
rules for our language and make it pure, eloquent, and
useful in the arts and science.“
Article 24 of the Bylaws of L'Académie française
Members
 Members of Language Academies always constitute the
intellectual elite:







Poets
Philosophers
Doctors
Linguists
Art critics
Heads of state.
Clergymen, etc
 The aim of a varied composition is to provide a wide range
of knowledge and culture.
Conclusion
Why should language change be unavoidable?
Bibliography

Aitchinson, Jean Language Change: Progress or decay? Cambridge; new York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Trask, R.L Historical Linguistics. London; New York: Arnold; distributed in the USA by St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

Trask, R.L Language Change. London; New York: Routledge, 1994.

Web references

http://parismus.forum-actif.net/cours-de-francais-f7/le-langage-des-jeunes-francais-le-verlan-t93.htm

http://www.nelsonthornes.com/aqagce/A2%20Sample%20material/English/A2_LAN_A.PDF

www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/changing-voices/

http://www.languagea2.bethkemp.co.uk/langechange.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_policy

http://www.academie-francaise.fr/

http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/31/ab/6b.pdf
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Attitudes to Language Change