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Research Paper I - Balloga 1 Abram Balloga LING 1109...

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Balloga, 1 Abram Balloga LING 1109 Research Project I 2/26/2009 Colloquial English in the Digital Age The English language has evolved drastically throughout history as its speakers have come into contact with other languages by way of war, conquest, and spreading religions. Major fluctuations in literacy levels of English speakers also occurred with these events, causing changes in pronunciation and the recorded spelling of words. The major distinguishing periods as defined by historians are Old English (449-1066), Middle English (1066-1489), Early Modern English (1476- 1776), and Modern English (1776- present). This paper hopes to uncover, through observation and data analysis, a current and future trend in the evolving English Language. Then by comparing this to past changes in of words, conjecture can be made as to whether these changes plan on permanence. In the past, shifts of English spelling, pronunciation, and meaning have occurred due to notable historical events. For example the evacuation of the island by the Romans, the arrival of Christianity, the Scandinavian invasions, the Norman Conquest, discovery and re-translation of the Greek classics from the Muslims, invention of the printing press, and the Renaissance. 1 Each of these events in some way influenced the culture and every day lives of the common people of England. However these are well documented cases with centuries of data with which to track their complex effects. This paper seeks to observe trends that occur right now under our noses in the year of our lord, 2009 ad. To describe a vocabulary alteration we must first identify and define the catalyzing event or circumstances. In this case I cite technology, its ready availability, and rampant use by the masses. Since my data set is derived solely from American native English speakers, I can only discuss the catalyst as it occurred within the United States. Over the past two centuries I would argue that cultural and ideological priorities have brought us to this point, where Standard English endures wanton manipulation. The breaking point for the plunge into modernity for our purposes was the Industrial Revolution. The United States undertook an economic transformation that defines the cultural difference between its inhabitants then, and now. The industrial Revolution was an era of, in economic terms, increased efficiency and mass production. 2 A major contributor to the success of this movement is the American Manufacturing System (AMS), born by necessity of war. Prior to this system, artisans and manufacturers built each unit from beginning to finish, making each an individual due to human error. The AMS began at the Springfield Armory, in the mass production of rifles. It was 1 1 Stockwell, Robert & Minkova, Donka 2001, pg 54
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Balloga, 2 discovered that producing pieces and working parts of a rifle in large quantities, from the same mold, allowed for the breakthrough of interchangeable parts. Now rifles could be repaired simply by retrieving new parts out of a barrel of identical pieces, since they were standardized.
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