Language change is a phenomenon which has been the object of renewed interest in the past few decades. It has been enriched through our increased knowledge of language types and the history of established languages, not least English. The aim of this lecture series will be to examine the various views on language change with the aim of arriving at regularities and predictable directions of change. These considerations are ultimately of interest when examining the nature of possible human languages and so are of general relevance to students of language. Particular emphasis will be put on sociolinguistic scenarios for change and this will involve looking at contemporary instances of change with a view to illuminating change in history.

Literature on language change

Aitchison, Jean 2001. Language change. Progress or decay? 3rd edition. Cambridge: University Press. Bauer, Laurie 1994. Watching English change. An introduction to the study of linguistic change in standard Englishes in the twentieth century. London: Longman. Campbell, Lyle 2013. Historical linguistics. An introduction. Third edition. Edinburgh: University Press. Chambers, J. K., Natalie Schilling (eds) 2013. The handbook of language variation and change. Second edition. Oxford: Blackwell. Hickey, Raymond 2003. Motives for language change. Cambridge: University Press. Jones, Mari and Ishtla Singh 2005. Exploring language change. London: Routledge. McColl Millar, Robert 2007. Trask’s Historical Linguistics. London: Routledge. McColl Millar, Robert 2012. English Historical Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: University Press. McMahon, April 1994. Understanding language change. Cambridge: University Press. Trask, Robert Lawrence 2009. Why do languages change? Cambridge: University Press.