Language Standardization

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Furthermore, we begin to look at some of the political and economic conditions from the late fourteenth century onwards. Moreover, we find more examples of changes that assisted the movement towards the standardization of the English language. There are four stages that occur in the process of language standardization of any language. For instance moving from ‘dialect’ to ‘language’ from ‘vernacular’ to standard’ (Haugen 1966). As noted by Hogg, (1992) the four stages in the development towards a Standard English are; selection, acceptance, diffusion and finally maintenance these four factors have contributed towards the movement of the standard language spoken today. Firstly, let’s consider the effects of selection, for instance south East-…show more content…
In addition, it is also important to note that there were no standard form of the language and therefore the spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar varied from one part of the country to another. This thus led to differences of spelling, vocabulary and grammar with the manuscripts. Which is first hand evidence of differences in usage of pronunciation and of the changes that took place over the Middle English period (freeborn,…show more content…
It is one thing for a minority literate person to adopt a different written form. However, it is quite difficult for them to change their speech habits overnight. Therefore, we cannot yet assume the existence of any standard of spoken usage during this stage. As we can see that it took some time for the east midland speech of the London merchants to acquire its prestige. However, once a written standard language becomes the norm for speech in the educated class, the division between the class and regional dialect is complete (Freeborn, 1992). The use of the language in government, public office, the production of books, newspapers, and the variety’s introduced into the education system. Therefore, even those who didn’t use it accepted the language as the prestige variety. As illustrated above, the London dialect in the late fourteenth century, derived from a mixture of Middle English dialects, but was strongly influenced by the East Midlands dialect in particular. However, by the end of the fourteenth century, the educated language of London was beginning to become the standard form of writing throughout the country. Although, the establishment of a recognised Standard English was not yet complete. These observations increase the claim that the standard language was the result of an increase of influences from different kinds of
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