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ERIC Number: ED140671
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
Language Change in Childhood and in History. Working Papers of the Language Behavior Research Laboratory, No. 41.
Slobin, Dan I.
Observation of child language development is just one way to study how language changes over time. Developmental psycholinguistics shares much common ground with historical linguistics and with studies of languages in contact and the evolution of pidgins and creoles. By studying the way language changes, this paper focuses on clarifying the psycholinguistic processes that make language possible. Four basic requirements of language are to be: (1) clear; (2) humanly processible in ongoing time; (3) quick and easy; and (4) expressive. Each of these factors is discussed in the context of change, seeking similarities in different kinds of diachronic stories in order to understand the nature of the changes themselves. Consequences of these factors are traced in four types of linguistic change: development of language in children; change of established languages over time; changes occurring in one language resulting from contact with another in minds of bilingual speakers; and changes occurring when a pidgin becomes a native language and expands into more mature communicative functions (i.e., the processes of creolization and decreolization). Examples from several languages are included to illustrate the points. (CHK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.