By Larry Trask
In Language swap , R. L. Trask makes use of info from English and different languages to introduce the suggestions significant to language swap. Language switch: *covers the main common varieties of language swap and the way languages are born and die *uses data-based routines to teach how languages switch *looks at different key components comparable to attitudes to language switch, and the results of fixing language.
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Thanks to the introduction of trains, cars, planes, films, radio, television and recordings, speakers of English now have constant and rapid access to the English spoken, not just elsewhere in Britain, but anywhere else in the world. Today, if a new word becomes fashionable in California, English speakers in Wigan, Ipswich and Sydney are likely to hear about it in a matter of weeks. This is a far cry from the days when an English speaker only rarely encountered the English spoken fifty miles away.
A) There′ll be the devil to pay. (b) He nailed his colours to the mast. (c) We’re in the doldrums. (d) I didn’t like the cut of his jib. (e) The opportunity has gone by the board. (f) We gave him a wide berth. CHANGE IN MEANING (g) She took the wind out of his sails. 4 On the left is a list of words which have undergone substantial changes of meaning during the last few centuries; on the right is a list of their former meanings in a different order. Can you match each word with its former meaning?
So, for example, ‘the king’ is variously se cyning or þone cyning, depending on its grammatical role, while ‘to the king’ is pæm cyninge and ‘to the kings’ is þæm cyningum, with the sense of ‘to’ being expressed by the endings. This kind of grammatical behaviour is found in many other European languages, such as German, Russian and Latin. It was formerly the norm in English, too, but, in the centuries following the Norman Conquest, most of these endings disappeared from the language—and indeed English is today a little unusual among European languages in the small number of grammatical wordendings it uses.