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Development in the English Language - Essay Example

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This essay talks about the various socio-historical influences on the development of the Old English such as the separation of the land from the Continental influences, conversion of the English to Christianity, the assimilation of the Scandinavian colonizers on the English language, etc…
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Development in the English Language
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Change and Development in the English Language Thesis ment: In approaching the study of language and language change, one comes across several effective methods and internal reconstruction and comparative reconstruction are two of the most valuable and principal methods of the study of language prehistory which offer no possibility of external corroboration of its results.
Topic Sentence 1: First of all, it is pertinent to realise that "the most adequate way of approaching the study of language and language change, is by asking (a) what the replicating units that constitute competences actually are, (b) by what mechanics they replicate, and (c) what (environmental) factors influence their success at replicating." (Ritt, 121)
Topic Sentence 2: Due to the ever changing nature of a language, internal reconstruction, which is a technique of renovating the earlier form of a language even without reference to comparative data, has salient application in approaching the study of language change and "Close comparison of forms within an actual language, or within a reconstructed (and thus by definition hypothetical) language, will reveal many structural characteristics of still earlier stages in that language or language family." (Lock and Peters, 755.
Topic Sentence 3: In Historical Linguistics, internal reconstruction and comparative reconstruction are the two methods mostly used by the scholars and these "methods are not in themselves 'historical': the Comparative Method compares the synchronic states of two or more languages, while Internal Reconstruction is based on synchronic alterations within a single language." (Fox, 99)
Topic Sentence 4: In the historical analysis of the languages, linguistic reconstruction becomes a tool as well as goal of the analysis as "we reconstruct earlier forms of languages not merely to explain historical relationship between present day languages but in order to find out what the earlier languages themselves were actually like." (Fox, 3)
The Methods for Approaching the Study of Language Change
The constantly changing nature of the languages has necessitated the study of language change and it has become the duty of linguistics, and specifically historic linguistic to undertake the most effective methods for approaching the study of language change. Thus, two of the most valuable and principal methods of the study of language prehistory are internal reconstruction and comparative reconstruction which offer no possibility of external corroboration of its results. It is essential to distinguish, at the outset, between the study of language history and that of the language prehistory and it is in the case of the latter that the methods of internal reconstruction and comparative reconstruction are found useful. These are the two predominantly used methods of Historical Linguistics and these "methods are not in themselves 'historical': the Comparative Method compares the synchronic states of two or more languages, while Internal Reconstruction is based on synchronic alterations within a single language." (Fox, 99) It is the diachronic interpretation of the results obtained by means of these synchronic processes which gives these methods their historical significance. These are techniques of renovating the earlier form of a language even without reference to comparative data and their application in approaching the study of language change is categorical.
Works Cited
Fox , Anthony. Linguistic Reconstruction: An Introduction to Theory and Method. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1995. P 3.
Fox, Anthony. "On Simplicity in Linguistic Reconstruction." Historical Linguistics 1995: Selected Papers from the 12th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Manchester, August 1995. Richard M. Hogg, et al. (Ed). John Benjamins Publishing Company. 2000. P 99.
Lock, Andrew and Charles R. Peters. The Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution. London: Blackwell Publishing. 1999. P 755.
Ritt, Nikolaus. Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004. P 121. Read More
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