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Unformatted text preview: Three Characteristics of Language Change 1. Language change is CONSTANT Language changes constantly in an imperceptible way. Only when language stages far apart in time are compared does change become apparent. Periods in the history of English a) Old English : Before 1100. Beowulf b) Middle English : 1100 to 1500. 1066: Nor- man invasion. G. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (1392-95) c) Modern English : 1500 to Present. 1476: printing press in England. 1540: W. Shake- speares birth. 2. Language change is PERVASIVE No aspect of language (lexical, phonological, morphological, syntactic) is immune to change 2. 1. Lexical change New morphemes are added ( byte , geek ), while other disappear ( knacker ?) BORROWING is a source of new vocabulary. Written English borrowed over 60% of its vocabulary (from Greek, Latin, & French). RELIC forms may survive in specialized uses a) let hinder > let ball (tennis: hindered by the net). b) plumb lead (metal) > plumb line . c) wer man > werewolf (lit: man-wolf)....
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