KACL Lecture Series

#9 : J.k. Chambers
Professor, University of Toronto
Title: Mass Media and Literacy in Language Change
Date : Octover 23, 2001, 17:00--18:30
Place : Kobe Shoin Women's University, Room 1411

Many sciences, including linguistics, assume the Uniformitarian Principle, which holds that the forces that apply today are the same forces that applied in prehistoric times. But language, unlike gravity and earthquakes, is a human attribute, and subject to acts of volition and intention. We should ask if modern social and cultural forces, which have altered cataclysmically in the last 200 years, might have an impact on contemporary language change as never before. I will review changes in mobility, life expectancy, mass communications, literacy, urbanization and mass media. I will then look closely at two of these, mass media and mass literacy, for evidence of influence on the way languages vary and change.


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