Language Change

Language Change : Progress or Decay?

3.85 (214 ratings by Goodreads)
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How and why do languages change? Where does the evidence of language change come from? How do languages begin and end? This introduction to language change explores these and other questions, considering changes through time. The central theme of this book is whether language change is a symptom of progress or decay. This book will show you why it is neither, and that understanding the factors surrounding how language change occurs is essential to understanding why it happens. This updated edition remains non-technical and accessible to readers with no previous knowledge of linguistics.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 4th Revised edition
  • 37 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • 1139151819
  • 9781139151818

Review quote

'Jean Aitchison's Language Change: Progress or Decay? has been essential introductory reading for students of historical linguistics for many years: it manages the rare trick of combining theoretical sophistication and clear, simple (but not simplistic) expression. This new edition, which takes account of current issues in language-change studies while not discarding classic discussions, remains a fine and very approachable survey. I shall certainly recommend it to my undergraduates.' Jeremy J. Smith, University of Glasgow 'A brilliant essay in linguistics ... Even in the most complex spaghetti junctions of her argument, her own directions are always clear, and her own language lively, fresh and stimulating.' The Guardian '... captivating and highly readable ... linguistic phenomena are lucidly explained, often through the use of analogy, graphics and clear examples taken from a range of different languages. A new and welcome addition to this fourth edition are the questions placed at the end of the book - three for each chapter - which help readers to test their understanding of the main points.' Ilse Wischer, translated from Zeitschrift fur Dialektologie und Linguistik
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Table of contents

Part I. Preliminaries: 1. The ever-whirling wheel; 2. Collecting up clues; 3. Charting the changes; Part II. Transition: 4. Spreading the word; 5. Conflicting loyalties; 6. Catching on and taking off; 7. Caught in the web; 8. The wheels of language; 9. Spinning away; Part III. Causation: 10. The reason why; 11. Doing what comes naturally; 12. Repairing the patterns; 13. Pushing and pulling; Part IV. Beginnings and Endings: 14. Language birth; 15. Language death; 16. Progress or decay?
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Rating details

214 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 24% (51)
4 43% (93)
3 28% (59)
2 4% (9)
1 1% (2)
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