part 2 question 6

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part 2 question 6

Post  Admin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:39 am

6) Is there a link between pidginisation and the English language’s shift from a synthetic
language to an analytical language (Marc-andre, Aldy)


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Re: part 2 question 6

Post  mavezina on Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:25 am

Question #6
Is there a link between pidginisation and the English language’s shift from a synthetic language to an analytical language
In a contact situation involving two groups speaking different languages, the simplified language used for communication will be based on one of the two. In many cases the choice of the particular form that the simplification will take, rests with the speaker of the model language. It often happens that, to communicate with each other, two or more people use a language in a variety whose grammar and vocabulary are very much reduced in extent and which is native to neither side such a language is a pidgin. Pidgin is a language formed from a mixture of several languages when speakers of different languages need to talk to each other. Pidginisation can also occur when the second language learner is subject to social and psychological distance from the target language group. Within the contact language, variations attributable to the native language background of the individual speaker may occur. A contact language may thus be related to any native language 'as a tree to its roots'. The different kinds of Pidgin English have preserved the basic grammatical features of English, at the same time incorporating a number of non-English syntactical characteristics. The great majority of words in Pidgin English are of English origin, but there are also Malay, Chinese, and Portuguese elements. The process of pidginisation is assumed to begin when a language is used only for very limited communication between groups who speak different native languages. Sharply restricted in domains of use, it undergoes varying degrees of simplification and admixture. If a new stable variety of the language emerges from this process, it might be described as a pidgin.
The earliest documented pidgin is the Lingua Franca that developed among merchants and traders in the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages; it remained in use through the 19th cent.
It belongs to the "synthetic" language group, which means that unlike English and other "analytical" languages, different grammatical aspects are expressed in one word by changing the structure of that word - adding an ending or prefix, modifying the core of the word, etc. In analytical languages such as English, the same is achieved by using separate auxiliary verbs, pronouns or adjectives while the actual word remains unchanged. In Czech, one word is often sufficient to express what English can only achieve by using multiple words
Sometimes languages maintain a level of inflection that's higher relative to their sister languages (no one would argue with Spanish being classified as more inflected than English), or they gain new synthetic forms in some isolated cases (the Romance future and conditional) but their morphology is still significantly simplified in comparison with the parent form.
Germanic group differs greatly from other language groups. The typological evolution in the Germanic group has on the whole shown a decisive predominance of the analyticizing style. Change in time
Let us now think about the inflections that were available in an earlier form of English, known as Old English (OE, also called Anglo-Saxon) and present-day English (PDE).
We also see a wide range of forms of the: se, þone, þæs, þæm, þy, þa, þara. But these are not the only ones: others include þæt, seo, þon and þære. What were these extra forms of the for? The answer is that it depends not only on number and case but also on gender. Nouns in OE were assigned to three classes of gender: masculine, feminine and neuter. This was largely arbitrary but it had consequences, as seen earlier, in the form of words used. Adjectives were also inflected for number, case, gender and additionally where a form of the was used. Here are some examples involving dola (= foolish), cyning (= king, masculine), bearn (= child, cf. Scottish bairn, neuter) and ides (= woman, feminine). We will only look at the nominative case.
(1) OE nouns were inflected for number (hund-hundas, deor-deor, oxa-oxan, fot-fet, cyning-cyningas, ides-idese, scip-scipu). Nouns are still inflected for number today (dog-dogs, deer-deer, ox-oxen, foot-feet, king-kings, ship-ships). OE seems to have a much wider range of ways of forming plurals, including -as, Ø, -en, -e, -u and vowel mutation. The PDE system is more regular, with the majority taking on ¬-es or -s. We still have some irregular plurals which we inherited from OE. Some other irregular plurals are due to loan words retaining the foreign plurals (eg criterion-criteria from Latin, and analysis-analyses from Greek).
(2) OE nouns had grammatical gender (which determined the forms of the adjectives and determiners used with them). Where gender exists in PDE, this is natural gender.

(3) OE nouns were inflected for case. This is no longer the true of PDE. We are, however, left with some vestiges of this system in our pronominal system today:
nominative, singular accusative, singular genitive, singular nominative, plural accusative, plural genitive, plural
1st person I me my, mine we us our, ours
2nd pers. you you your, yours you you your, yours
3rd pers. masc. he him his they them their, theirs
fem. she her her, hers
neuter it it its

(4) Adjectives were also inflected in OE. This is no longer the case in PDE.
If we therefore contrast OE to PDE, it seems clear that although PDE is an inflected language, the range of inflexions has been reduced, and the grammatical categories of case and gender do not exist for most ordinary nouns any more (if we discount the case of the genitive or possessive).
In fact, if we examine some English-based pidgins and creoles, we can see how the evolution is taken a step further. (For our purposes, a pidgin is a simplified language arising out of the need of different communities who do not share a language coming together for a restrictive purpose such as trade. Creoles are pidgins that have become the mother tongue of a community.) In pidgins and creoles, the plural inflection is dropped (two book, dem creature). When plural meaning has to be indicated, particles may be used (The rabbit dem eat it all). The possessive is also not employed (dat man house) or a particle might be added (De coat a fi me = ‘that coat is mine). Case distinctions for pronouns are also not employed (She see he come, take he coat, and go; Carry dat book to she teacher).
The evolution seems to have been from a synthetic language (OE) to a more analytic language


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Question 6 - Natacha

Post  natacha on Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:18 am

Pidginization is a process that requires at least 3 languages, one of those are dominant over the others.

Simplification of the language

Wardhaugh, Ronald (1992) An introduction to sociolinguistics, Blackwell p. 58


Analytic language: a language in which all of the words are not inflected. Each word carries only one grammatical function. The language has a fixed word order. Present Day English is an example of an analytic language. English became an analytic language as a result of the stress shift (one of the seven major differences between the Indo-European and Germanic languages). This is the opposite of a synthetic language.

Synthetic language: is a language in which all of the words carry many grammatical functions with them. The words are inflected. As a result of this, the language has no fixed word order. Indo-European was a synthetic language. This is the opposite of an analytic language.

Inflection: inflections are changes in word forms to indicate different grammatical functions. They are very commonly word endings. Old English had many inflected words. Inflected words are often found in synthetic languages. Example: Spanish "tengo" means "I have"; "tiene" means "you have". (morphology)

“Pidginization generally involves some kind of “simplification” of a language e.g. reduction of morphology (word structure) and syntax (grammatical structure), tolerance of considerable phonological variation (pronunciation), reduction in the number of functions in which the pidgin is used (e.g. you usually do not attempt to write a novel in pidgin), and extensive borrowing of words from local mother-tongues.”

Number of people who actually speak a creole language = 6-7 million to 10-17 million.

Wardhaugh, Ronald (1992) An introduction to sociolinguistics, Blackwell p. 58-60

*personal opinion: Since pidginization is a process in which more than one language are in contact and create a simplified languages, I guess it could have had an impact on the English shift from a Synthetic (a language with inflection) to an analytic (a language with no inflection) language. The inflection process have been simplified over time with the languages contacts and finally lost it to become the English that we now know.

Plus, a pidgin is a very simplified language resulted from other languages. At the very beginning, the pidgin language will only contain simple vocabulary, but not grammatical rule yet. With time, the new language is rebuilt and new grammar rules appear. This is how a language as English could have passed from a synthetic to an analytical language. Morphology is lost and rebuilt on a different way in the new language.


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