Has altered the meaning of the word post which used

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has altered the meaning of the word ‘post’ (which used to mean a strong piece of timber, metal, or the like, set upright as a support, or a piece of mail (Dictionary.com 2018)) to include the publication of a sentence on a social media platform. In contrast to broadening, semantic narrowing is a type of semantic change by which the meaning of a word becomes less general or inclusive than its earlier meaning. This is also known as specialisation or restriction (Oxford Companion to the English Language 1992). The Old English version of the word ‘wife’ could be used to refer to any woman but has narrowed in its 3
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application nowadays to only married women (Yule, G 2010). Yule (2010) contends that a different kind of narrowing can lead to a negative meaning for some words, such as vulgar (which used to mean simply 'ordinary') which now includes garish and naughty (which used to mean 'having nothing') which now includes behaving badly. 4 LANGUAGE SHIFT Language contact can give rise to language shift – where a linguistic community changes from the habitual use of one language to another. Language shift affects minority languages as minority languages do not usually have the same social, political and economic advantages (Sanderson & Mabule 2012). Five language maintenance factors are identified by Barnes and McDuling (1995) in their study of language shift applied to the South African Indian community: 1) Education – Education can be one of the most powerful factors in maintaining a language. If parents send their children to an Indian language classes after school, to learn it formally, they have a strong chance of maintaining the Indian language for another generation. 2) Cultural organisations – If members of the community belong to cultural organisations, they are less likely to undergo a rapid language shift. 3) Religion – Religion can play an important role in mother tongue maintenance in an immigrant community. Most Indian immigrants are either Muslims or Hindus. Madrassahs (Quranic schools), mosques and Hindu temples are numerous in South Africa. Memberships and attendance of these institutions can act as maintenance factor. 4) The role of the family – The family play a vital role in maintaining the mother tongue. Close-knit families that avoid intermarriage with other groups are more likely to maintain the language. 4
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5) Maintaining contact with the mother country – Regular contact with India through business trips or holidays and family visits plays a vital role in maintaining the language. It is however very difficult to maintain a language in the face of strong economic factors (Sanderson & Mabule 2012). Sanderson & Mabule argue that economic factors are generally regarded as the major players in a language shift situation.
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  • Summer '19
  • Study of Language, Gardiner, William Labov, Sanderson & Mabule

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