Saturday, June 29, 2013

4 changes to English so subtle we hardly notice they’re happening | toteachornototeach

4 changes to English so subtle we hardly notice they’re happening | toteachornototeach:

4 changes to English so subtle we hardly notice they’re happening

4 changes to English so subtle we hardly notice they’re happening
By Arika Okrent
Everyone knows that language changes. It’s easy to pick out words that have only been recently introduced (bromance, YOLO, derp) or sentence constructions that have gone out of style (How do you do? Have you a moment?), but we are constantly in the middle of language change that may not be noticeable for decades or even centuries. Some of the biggest and most lasting changes to language happen slowly and imperceptibly. The Great Vowel Shift, for example, was a series of pronunciation changes occurring over 350 years, and not really noticed for over 100 years after that. It resulted in an intelligibility gap between Modern and Middle English and created the annoying misalignment between English pronunciation and spelling. But it was impossible to see while it was going on.
These days, however, it is possible to spot subtle linguistic changes by analyzing large digital collections of text 

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