Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors (Language in Society)

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9780631179139: Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors (Language in Society)

Combining studies of living communities with examinations of historical records of completed changes, this book traces the general principles of chain shifting within and across vowel systems, as well as the principles that govern mergers and splits. Labov uses evidence from sociolinguistics and dialect geography to provide responses to the controversies initiated by the neo-grammarians. Though lexical diffusion can be located in changes of membership in abstract categories such as "long" and "short", the main agent of linguistic change, Labov argues, is regular sound change that proceeds without regard to the preservation of meaning. Change in sound can lead to confusion and the disruption of dialect systems. The findings presented here on the asymmetry of production and perception explain the historical continuity of word classes when the semantic function of contrast is suspended.

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Labov, William
Published by Blackwell Pub (1994)
ISBN 10: 0631179135 ISBN 13: 9780631179139
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Labov, William
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