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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: Learning the game: playing by the rules, playing with the rules
Author: Wayne Rimmer
Email: click here TO access email
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Language change is inevitable. If it wasn't, English learners would all be trying to sound like King Alfred. There is never a period of stability in language and the only languages which have reached a kind of equilibrium are those like Latin where are there are no longer any native speakers. The pressure for change on English is particularly high because of its global status and the diversity of contexts in which it operates. In 2006 David Graddol (p. 101) stated that in 2010 two billion people would be learning English. The size of the figures involved makes it impossible to verify whether this prediction was accurate but Graddol's most recent publication (2010: 68) states that up to 350 million people may speak English in India alone. Obviously, most of these English users around the world speak it as a second language. Consequently, any discussion of change in modern English must take into account the input of those who have had to learn English. The purpose of this article is to present examples of learner language which demonstrate principles and mechanisms of language change through the much-discussed phenomenon of language play.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 27, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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