Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 2019 vol. 54s1


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    Change from аbove, language contact, and individual change in Ælfric’s linguistic terminology
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2019) Yakovenko, Yekaterina
    The paper focuses on linguistic terminology used by Ælfric (10th c.) in his translation of an anonymous Latin grammar (Excerptiones de arte grammatica anglicе) going back to Priscian and Donatus’ works. Ælfric’s grammatical metalanguage, comprising loan words, semantic loans, loan translations, and periphrastic expressions created for explanatory purposes, is characterized by great diversity. A question arises whether these terms, remaining occasional, made any impact on the language system and can be thus evaluated as change from above. The paper combines a traditional semantic, morphological, and functional description of Ælfric’s terminology and its consideration within the frame of sociolinguistics; the analysis is supplemented by a cross-linguistic study of Ælfric’s terms with remarks on other Germanic languages. The results achieved enable us to argue that Ælfric’s linguistic terminology, being innovative, displays some features of change from above, arising from language contact and individual change.
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    Change from above and resistance to change in the early prescriptive pronouncing dictionaries of English
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2019) Trapateau, Nicolas; Duchet, Jean-Louis
    To what extent is it possible to interpret the data of pronouncing dictionaries of the 18th century in sociolinguistic terms? Several answers are provided by resorting to Labov’s concepts of change from above and change from below the level of awareness. A systematic investigation of John Walker’s Critical Pronouncing Dictionary (1791, 1809), the most complete and cumulative of all such dictionaries of the time, makes it possible to show that an orthoepist like Walker often reflects the pressure in favour of change from above for vowel quality and resistance to such a change in matters of stress placement. By preferring analogy to conservative pronunciations due to his bias in favour of a rational pattern, Walker also links analogy to the “vernacular instinct”, promoting variant forms witnessing a change from below. And many other changes under way in his time, which pass unnoticed in the orthoepist’s discourse and transcriptions, properly deserve to be treated as changes from below, thus making his dictionary the common ground for pressures from above and pressures from below. Walker’s prescription is a complex combination of both promotion of, and resistance to pressures from above according to criteria that reflect the ideals of the upper middle class.
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    Tracing patterns of intra-speaker variation in early English correspondence: A change from above in the "Paston Letters"
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2019) Hernández-Campoy, Juan M.; Conde-Silvestre, J. Camilo; García-Vidal, Tamara
    The aim of this paper is to explore the impact of social and context factors on the diffusion of a linguistic change from above, namely the deployment of the spelling innovation in fifteenth-century English, and especially in some letters from the well-known Paston collection of correspondence. We particularly focus on the socio-stylistic route of this change from above, observing the sociolinguistic behaviour of some letter writers (members of the Paston family) in connection with the social-professional status of their recipients, the interpersonal relationship with them, as well as the contexts and styles of the letters. In this way, different dimensions of this change from above in progress in fifteenth-century English can be reconstructed.
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    To quote or not to quote: Literary quotations as change from above
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2019) Chapman, Don
    Phrases deriving from literary quotations are sometimes included in language histories as contributions from famous writers, like Shakespeare. This paper will argue that the label “change from above” is still a useful label for the addition of literary phrases to the language, even if such an addition is not typical of the variationist changes for which the label was coined. This paper will also demonstrate that the process of incorporating a literary quotation into the language involves several alterations to the quotation’s form and meaning, and that these changes are also part of the “change from above” characterizing the adoption of literary phrases.
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    The hypothesis of change from above in the history of English: State of the art and perspectives
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2019) Lavidas, Nikolaos
    The present paper presents the state of the art of research related to hypothesized changes from above in the diachrony of English. A main aim of the paper is to show how the cooperation of various perspectives can open new directions in the research of language change. We examine the main aspects of a definition of the change from above. We investigate the various perspectives through which the concept of change from above, as an “importation of elements from other systems” (Labov 2007), has been considered a significant factor for the development of English. We show that any attempt to investigate the presence or role of change from above includes the parameters of prestige, distribution of old and new forms, diffusion, gender, and linguistic ideology. Finally, we discuss typical examples of development of patterns and characteristics of English that have been analyzed as influenced by change from above, as well as the prestige dialects / languages and contexts that have been regarded as facilitating a hypothesized change from above (Latin, Anglo-Norman, standardization, prescriptivism, networks and individuals). We argue that the articles of the present special issue provide stable criteria that are required in any attempt to test the hypothesis of change from above in the development of English.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego