Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-23T22:14:40.438Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Introduction: Investigating language variation and change

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2014

Manfred Krug
Affiliation:
Department of English and American Studies, University of Bamberg, Germany
Julia Schlüter
Affiliation:
Department of English and American Studies, University of Bamberg, Germany
Anette Rosenbach
Affiliation:
Department of English and American Studies, University of Paderborn, Germany
Manfred Krug
Affiliation:
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany
Julia Schlüter
Affiliation:
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany
Get access

Summary

The importance of variation and change

Language variation and change highlight the fact that language universally involves alternative forms and structures that compete with each other in usage. For instance, speakers of Scottish varieties of English may in certain circumstances front the initial consonant in thing and pronounce it as fing. A speaker from Cumnock in Lowland Scotland or from Portavogie in Northern Ireland may occasionally drop the subject relative pronoun in the man (who) called me was our neighbour. An eighteenth-century speaker and his twenty-first-century descendant may both use kneeled down, although the latter is more likely to use knelt down. As is evident from this arbitrary choice of examples from the present volume, language is inherently variable, both across time (diachronically) and at any specific point in time (synchronically). In the investigation of both synchronic and diachronic linguistic variation, the classic variables relating to the language producer are geographical, stylistic and social in nature. The fact that especially social information (like age, sex, socio-economic class) figures more prominently in the study of more recently produced data follows naturally from the fact that such information is less readily accessible for older data (cf., however, Nevalainen and Raumolin-Brunberg 2003).

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Albert, Ruth and Koster, Cor J. 2002. Empirie in Linguistik und Sprachlehrforschung. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
Chalmers, Alan F. 1990. Science and its fabrication. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
Creswell, John W. 2009. Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. 3rd edn. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Davies, Martin Brett 2007. Doing a successful research project: using qualitative or quantitative methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Litosseliti, Lia (ed.) 2010. Research methods in linguistics. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
Nevalainen, Terttu and Raumolin-Brunberg, Helena 2003. Historical sociolinguistics: linguistic change in Tudor and Stuart England. London: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
Penke, Martina and Rosenbach, Anette 2004. ‘What counts as evidence in linguistics? An introduction’, Studies in Language 28(3): 480–526.Google Scholar
Rasinger, Sebastian M. 2008. Quantitative research in linguistics: an introduction. (Research methods in linguistics) London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
Schütze, Carson T. 1996. The empirical base of linguistics: grammaticality judgements and linguistic methodology. Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
Sealey, Alison 2010. Researching English language: a resource book for students. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Wray, Alison and Bloomer, Aileen 2012. Projects in linguistics: a practical guide to researching language. 3rd edn. London: Hodder Arnold.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×