The Change in Accentual Patterns in Certain English Words – A Diachronic Study


All languages tend to change in certain respects over a period time. These changes become perceptible only when they remain in vogue for a period of twenty five to thirty years. In English it is noticed that changes take place in the pronunciation of certain words with time, leading to two alternative pronunciations for the same word resulting from a shift in the position of the word accent. This is evident when we notice the speech of older people, which is significantly different from that of younger people. The present study examines changes in the accentual patterns of English words over a time period. An attempt has been made to identify the changes in pronunciations diachronically. Some words having alternative pronunciations were noted down from the Fourteenth edition (1987) of the ENGLISH PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY by Daniel Jones. In order to study the alternative pronunciations of such words over a period with a time lapse of at least thirty years, the Eleventh edition of the EPD (1956) was chosen for reference. The same words were also looked up in the Eighteenth edition of the EPD (2011), after a time period of 24 years. The changes were noted. The findings of this study proved that independence and interdependence in language learning are indeed synergistic.

Author Information
Roopa Suzana, The English and Foreign Languages University, India

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2019
Stream: Applied linguistics research

This paper is part of the ECLL2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon