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A Brief Overview of English as a Language in Change


Nowadays languages have changed completely, English that we know it’s too different than

English of 600 years ago. This is not only for English, in every language has existed some change.

The question that we need to do is: why do languages change? There are a lot of reasons and

theories to know why change, maybe language change because of foreign people, maybe people

became lazier and they didn’t worry for a good pronunciation, because they thought that the way

that they pronounced was easier to understand.

Invasion, migration, and colonization are primarily responsible for language shift, Trade and

travel can influence languages, with people moving to new areas and bringing their vocabulary

and pronunciation.

According to Labov (1996) pronunciation, change happens when the vowel sounds used in

certain words by a relatively small group come to be regarded as a sign of social and cultural

identity, and so more people who wish to be part of that group copy or even exaggerate that


An example of pronunciation change is Queen Elizabeth II, over the years she has changed the

way that she pronounces completely. she used to say ‘blek het’, she now says ‘black hat’; ‘he’s

gone’ was previously ‘he’s gorn’. Her accent was of a variety known as ‘Upper Received’ (the

sounds used by the upper class and those who have attended public schools), nowadays her

accent is standard received, it means that it is more widely used variety. This not just happen to

Queen Elizabeth II, students have also witnessed the change, they also have a different way to
pronounce the words, for that reason it is impossible to establish a rule of pronunciation because

everybody has a different way to learn and not all teachers teach in the same way.

A lot of people think that a native speaker is the role model and the old definitions of ‘native

speaker’ were based, literally, on where you were born or what your mother’s first language was,

but there is a problem, sometimes “native speakers” don’t know his own languages and they

couldn’t explain some things about the language that they “know”. On the other hand, some non-

speakers are fluent, they have a higher knowledge of language that native speakers, even they

know the culture of the country, but it seems that it is more important than you are native.

Exist a problem that is common in English, the preposition, maybe people don't consider this,

however, it is important to say that preposition is like make up the way you speak. an example

the worst preposition appeared in a newspaper. T-shirts started to appear with the slogan on them

“bored of the Beckhams”. I know that maybe there are a lot of people that heat this family, but if

I wanna be rude at least worried about the way that you copy. I don’t know, you could say

“Bored with the Beckhams!”, but bored with the Beckhams? What were u thinking about when

you put that in a T-shirt?

English is one of the languages that tend to change in a short period and a lot of people become

upset because they disagree on the way the word was written, or the way that a word is

pronounced or even they disagree with the meaning, for example, the word “cool” nowadays

means great, in the past it meant “stupid” 🙃.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the changes not just happen in English, in any language we

must be prepared to learn new meanings, new pronunciations, new spellings, etc. A lot of people

think that languages are so easy, and any person can speak it, they are wrong, as a modern
language student I can say that languages are difficult as any career, and the knowledge that we

need to get is too much.