A Diachronic Study of Language Use as an Instrument of Language Change
This paper aimed at investigating the instrumentality of language use in language change from the period between the Middle English to present. Language use refers to the communicative needs of language, whereas language change involves variations in sounds, meanings, word structures and sentence structure which took place over a period of time. In order to examine these changes that take place in language over time, the researchers examined the English Language, and African languages, especially Nigerian indigenous languages and the Nigerian English by observing and describing the changes. Findings revealed that language change is inevitable when a language is in use, and that these changes occur as language users, both as individuals and as a speech community try to express their thoughts and feelings in ways best soothing to them. Also, when languages come in contact with one another, new words are borrowed, old ones are dropped, coinages are made, and as languages are in use, old meanings are dropped for new ones, also, as more literary works are created, innovations are also made in language. In conclusion, language changes in all aspects: pronunciation, word forms and meanings, syntax and semantics. This language change caused by “internal” and “external factors” is as a result of language use; language is made for man, and not man for language.
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