In this chapter, the Academy of Persian Language and Literature is introduced in the context of an eighty-year-old history of the establishment of the Academy in Iran. The chapter intends to describe the atmosphere which motivated the need for the emergence of this institution in Iran. It seems to be fair to claim that word selection, and more technically terminology, has been the central concern of the three Iranian academies of the Persian language. It also seems to be just to evaluate the contributions and activities of the first and the third academies in Iran more fruitful both quantitatively and qualitatively than the endeavours of the second Iranian academy. The experiences which Iran has gained in the last eight decades could be relied on to move forward from a stage of language reform activities towards a more comprehensive phase of developing a language policy for the country in future.
This article examines the grammaticalisation of adverbs. It surveys ways in which adverbs can come into existence: via affixation, via case suffixes, and with true grammaticalised derivators. It argues that not every process that produces an adverb is per se a grammaticalization process since adverb is a linguistic category which shows very different morphological behaviours. In addition, there are languages which have no morphological expression for such a category.
James P. Blevins
Although the heyday of the American Descriptivist school was short, spanning the time between Bloomfield and Chomsky, this period was decisive for the development of modern linguistics. It was in this time that a distinctive American school emerged with an explicit focus on synchronic analysis. The challenge of interpreting Bloomfield led the Descriptivists to define many notions that are commonly identified as “Bloomfieldian,” from the structuralist phoneme (Hockett 1942) and morpheme (Harris 1942), to models of immediate constituent analysis (Wells 1947). In the course of assembling these notions into a new science of linguistics, the Descriptivists came to focus on the techniques and devices employed to construct linguistic analyses. This shift in orientation marked the advent of a recognizably modern approach to linguistics, one in which formal tools and analytic methods are primary objects of study. Descriptivists’ interest in statistical, information-theoretic, and corpus-based methods likewise has a strong contemporary resonance.
In amphichronic phonology, synchronic and diachronic explanation feed each other. The architecture of grammar predicts the possible modes of implementation of phonological change (including neogrammarian regularity) and the life cycle of sound patterns. In turn, the life cycle accounts for synchronic phenomena such as scattered rules and the relative stratal affiliation of cognate processes.
This chapter presents a critical overview of traditional and current approaches to analogical change, focusing on those aspects that are most directly relevant to historical phonology, including: the levelling and extension of morphophonological alternations; the interaction of sound change and analogy; morphologization and demorphologization; contamination; folk etymology; and phonetic analogy.
The article adopts terminology, concepts, and ideas developed in quantitative morphological typology (cf. Greenberg 1960) to investigate the coding of grammatical information in English diachrony. Specifically, we utilize a quantitative, language-internal measure of overt grammatical analyticity, defined as the text frequency of free grammatical markers, and a measure of overt grammatical syntheticity, defined as the text frequency of bound grammatical markers. We subsequently apply these measures to the Penn Parsed Corpora of Historical English series, which covers the period between circa 1100 and 1900, and demonstrate that this time slice does not exhibit a steady drift from synthetic to analytic.
Launched in 1989, when Elizabeth Gordon became aware of the existence of a set of recordings of early New Zealand English, the Origins of New Zealand English Project (ONZE) provides a unique opportunity to investigate sound change. These “Mobile Unit” (MU) recordings were made in the 1940s for radio broadcast, and included reminiscences from speakers born as early as the 1850s. The recordings are significant because they date to the first stages of large-scale immigration to New Zealand from the British Isles, representing the first generation of English speakers born in New Zealand. These recordings, which are in the possession of the University of Canterbury, form the core of the ONZE project. Interviews with more than 100 of these early speakers have now been compiled, digitized, transcribed, time-aligned, and then automatically segmented at the phoneme level. The Mobile Unit recordings have been a valuable tool for testing theories of the formation of new dialects.
Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva
This article describes the areal dimension of grammaticalisation resulting from language contact. It shows that grammaticalisation is a ubiquitous process in language contact which may affect any part of language structure and exhibits the same format in all of its manifestations. It provides some examples of how languages have been influenced by other languages in developing new grammatical use patterns and categories. It investigates how grammaticalisation leads to a real relationship among languages by highlighting the notion of grammaticalization area.
Joan L. Bybee
This chapter discusses the role of articulatory processing in sound change, emphasizing the tendency towards reduction and overlap of articulatory gestures, as well as explanations proposed for this tendency. The pattern of lexical diffusion proceeding from most to least frequent words and phrases is discussed as evidence for the important role of articulation in sound change.
Language contact has long been the subject of extensive research in linguistics, but has recently been the object of increased attention by scholars working on both the history of English and varieties of English worldwide. Most language contact studies that have appeared in recent years rely on databases that differ from those typically used in histories of the English language. Assuming that code-switching refers to instances where bilingual speakers alternate between codes within the same speech event, this process can be hypothesized to be the source of borrowing when the code-switching occurs repeatedly with the same lexical items or sentence structures such that these are no longer felt to be foreign in the receiving code. Both the degree of bilingualism necessary for code-switching and the number of individuals who engage in code-switching are a matter of debate. This article discusses language contact, language ecology, and grammaticalization.
The prescriptive dictum that some linguistic variants are superior to others has strong roots in the eighteenth-century grammatical tradition. Synthesizing contemporary research on prescriptivism, this chapter uses the grammarian Robert Lowth as a lens for reinvestigating its linguistic and social dynamics. Eventually elevated to a bishopric, Lowth is popularly stereotyped as imposing latinate rules on English usage. Yet recent corpus-based studies suggest that prescriptive rules sometimes reflected rather than triggered standardization of such variants as adjective comparison, negative concord, preposition placement, and the subjunctive. Such studies also confirm that when tracking prescriptive traditions we need to consider media other than grammars and codifiers earlier than Lowth, such as James Greenwood. Indeed, linguistic variation in a corpus of Lowth’s own correspondence reminds us of the social distinctions and dynamics that can be correlated with prescriptivism. Though many professional linguists have traditionally dismissed prescriptivism, others are redirecting this attention into research and public outreach.
This article illustrates the relationship between auxiliaries and grammaticalisation. It examines how grammaticalisation impacts on discussions and definitions of auxiliaries and how auxiliaries contribute to a better understanding of grammaticalization. It provides a description and definition of auxiliary verbs using functional approach and discusses the often cited characteristics of auxiliaries, many of which are of theoretical relevance to the study of grammaticalisation.
This chapter discusses the most fundamental types of phonological change. The first part is a presentation of the basic notions underlying virtually any discussion in historical phonology (conditioning of changes, the phonological levels affected, basic structural consequences, persistent rules vs. sound change). In the other part the major types of sound change (featural, segmental as well as prosodic) are presented under nine headings (assimilation, dissimilation, deletion, insertion, lenition, fortition, metathesis, lengthening and gemination, shortening and degemination). The goal of this chapter is to provide a theory-neutral presentation of these general notions.
Jacob L. Mey
Pragmatics, the youngest linguistic discipline, has a venerable past: all the way from the Greek sophists through the medieval nominalists and nineteenth-century pragmatic thinkers to today’s workers in various sub-disciplines of linguistics, sociology, psychology, literary research, and other branches of the humanities and social sciences. In the chapter, a line is drawn connecting these historical tendencies, converging in the contemporary interest in pragmatics as the science of linguistic social behavior in various situational and institutional contexts. Attention is paid to predecessors, both immediate and remote, as well as to the man protagonists on today’s pragmatic scene, and how they interact with the neighboring disciplines, especially under a societal perspective. In particular, it is shown how the classical theory of speech acts is in need of being revised and extended in various directions, such as relevance theory, the theory of pragmatic acts, the study of cooperation in interaction, and more.
Gathic Avestan, the earliest documented form of Old Iranian, had a rich case system typical of archaic Indo-European languages: three genders, eight cases in the singular, a six-term plural, and a four-term dual. Old Persian, a somewhat later stage of Old Iranian, had already begun some case syncretisation with the old dative merging into the genitive. By the very earliest stages of Middle Persian and Parthian, gender and the dual were already completely lost and further stages of case syncretisation yielded a two-case system: the null-marked Direct case versus the Oblique case derived from the original genitive. Reduction or loss of case throughout Iranian and the emergence of numerous innovations have led to a bewildering array of compensating strategies whose evolution can be characterised by the interplay of three axes/dimensions: the Reduction Axis, the Innovation Axis, and the Nominal-Pronominal Axis. This article discusses the evolution of case in West Iranian languages, focusing on floating clitics and word order.
Case syncretism refers to the combination of multiple distinct case values in a single form. Distinct case values are determined on a language-specific basis, so that case syncretism by this definition involves an observable asymmetry between paradigms within a language. In the most obvious pattern, multiple case forms in one paradigm correspond to a single case form in another. Identifying a syncretic pattern as systematic still leaves open the question of which component of grammar encodes it, morphosyntax or morphology. The presence of case syncretism in a language implies the presence of syncretism involving the core cases somewhere in the system. The most widespread type of case syncretism, that of the core cases, may in many instances represent the outcome of desyntacticisation, that is, the morphologised relic of what was once an active syntactic rule. This article discusses case syncretism and diachrony.
Jill Bowie and Bas Aarts
This article explores recent grammatical change in the English perfect construction, with special focus on the infinitival perfect. Previous studies have typically drawn on written data, whereas this study reports on spoken data drawn from the Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English, based at the Survey of English Usage, University College London. This is a parsed corpus of British English which includes a wide range of spoken genres and spans the period from the 1960s to the 1990s. First, the article compares the main inflectional subtypes of the perfect (present, past and infinitival) in terms of changing frequencies of use. Significant declines in frequency (measured per million words) are reported for the past perfect and infinitival perfect, while the present perfect appears stable. Next, the article focuses on the behaviour of the infinitival perfect in different grammatical contexts, showing that its decline within the context of a preceding modal auxiliary is independent of the declining frequency of modal auxiliaries themselves. The study shows the importance of considering changes in a linguistic category like the perfect in relation to its interaction with other categories such as morphological tense and modality.
Although changes in stress systems are not as meticulously described and discussed as other aspects of phonology, they are recorded in the historical literature. Stress is related to quantity and weight and any change thereof may lead to an alteration of stress patterns. Usually, a change in the direction of stress assignment is rare, although abrupt changes from left-edge to right-edge stress or vice versa are known to happen. Causes for such changes are frequently assumed to be rooted in language contact. This chapter argues that stress patterns are surprisingly pertinacious, and that universal metrical preferences and constraints govern possible and impossible prosodic shifts. Rather than external influence alone, the chapter argues that acquisition and learnability can account for the data more coherently. It first considers general issues in the change of stress parameters and then focuses on the history of English, to exemplify some possible types of change on the basis of the prosodic changes that have occurred in that language.
Andreas H. Jucker
The 1970s and 1980s saw the emergence of more systematic research on politeness, led by the pioneering studies of Geoffrey N. Leech (1983) and Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson (1987). In their research, Brown and Levinson used Erving Goffman’s (1974) notion of face as a starting point and conceptualized politeness as a means to mitigate face threats and to maintain face in everyday interactions. Criticisms aside, Brown and Levinson’s theory became the most influential approach to politeness. Richard J. Watts, Sachiko Ide, and Konrad Ehlich (1992) identified two levels of politeness: first-order politeness, which corresponds to the various ways in which polite behavior is perceived and talked about by members of socio-cultural groups, and second-order politeness, a theoretical construct within a theory of social behavior and language usage. This article provides an overview of politeness in the history of the English language, focusing on politeness-related terms such as politeness, graciousness, courtesy, tact, and civility.
Political correctness creates new social agendas and areas of conformity by introducing new terms, redefining established words, and suppressing taboo terms and behaviors, all within a democratic framework. This article traces much earlier forms of political correctness in different social areas of changing conformity and taboo as new values and new dualisms have emerged. It discusses various kinds of semantic engineering, including word-formation, the generation of formulas and shifts of meaning. The political correctness debate has raised an important issue: whether social attitudes are indeed changed by alterations in the language. In rethinking this proposition, “changing attitudes” would mean adopting not only new terms but also new behaviors. One school of thought, which takes its cue from the initiatives of feminism, argues that changing the language is vital to changing attitudes. This article looks at the historical shift which essentially has been from realpolitik to the optional politics of values and lifestyle.