Diffusion of Language Change: Accommodation to a Moving Target

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The paper focuses on motivations for the spread of new features within a speech community, and on the trajectories the changes follow during diffusion. One set of data represents language use, and here focus is on two changes which have been going on in Danish over the past 40 years, one grammatical and one phonetic. The other set of data are results from a nationwide speaker evaluation experiment which tests the subconscious attitudes to different types of speech among the youth in five different places covering Denmark from east to west. Results show that changes spread centrifugally from Copenhagen, even to the extent that reversal of changes spreads from Copenhagen. Furthermore, the attitudes reflected in the speaker evaluation experiment support the theory that language change is motivated by social psychological factors. Finally, it is argued that it is worthwhile considering the possibility of media being involved in processes of linguistic change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-36
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ID: 37946623