ESSE 2016 Seminar: Change from Above in the History of English

Country: Ireland

City: Galway

Abstr. due: 28.02.2016

Dates: 22.04.16 — 26.08.16

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: The European Society for the Study of English


This seminar explores cases of change from above in the history of English. Change from above refers to the consciousness dimension of linguistic change, to changes that come from above the level of a speaker’s conscious awareness (cf. Labov 1965, 1994). It concerns cases of borrowings from languages which the dominant classes consider prestigious, or conscious selection, such as the retention and the re-introduction of affirmative do in seventeenth century documents (cf., for instance, Rissanen 1991) or the diachrony of negative concord (among others, Nevalainen 2006). The seminar will discuss, among other issues, the (re)introduction of elements by the dominant social class in various stages of the history of English, their correlation with changes in other features, their (non)integration into the vernacular system, formal vs. functional approaches to change from above and the question of the coexistent systems.

Conference Web-Site: