CAUSES two main causes of semantic change as language-internal




Although the alterations of meanings are ubiquitous, their origins and types, as declared by Hickey (2001), may be seen from different perspectives. Meillet (1921) was the first to identify two main causes of semantic change as language-internal or language-external. The explanation and examples of these will be developed in the following parts of the chapter.

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Meillet (1921) described language-internal causes as the ones which are mostly associated with the linguistic context. Hickey (2001) develops the idea by writing:


(…) internal causes have very often to do with the establishment of morphological regularity (…) or with the reshuffling of items in a word field (re-alignment of sense relations.) GRAMMATICALIZATION



Traugott and Dasher (2002) explain that what was dubbed by Meillet (1921) as grammaticalization is the shift of a lexical item into a grammatical marker. It may be worth to emphasize that, as mentioned by Traugott and Dasher (2002), the change occurs merely in the direction from a word to a grammatical function, the reverse situation is not observable.

Accurate examples of this phenomenon are English be going to and German Teil. Initially, as derived from a verb go, it indicated a movement; later on, it came to be a future tense marker. Similarly, German Teil underwent a change and nowadays may be also found in ordinal numbers, e.g. Drittel or Viertel. PHONEMIC CHANGE



Grygiel and Kleparski (2009) state that in Mid.E. there were numerous words taken from distinct historical periods and usually more than one version was incorporated in the language which were later called doublet forms. Grygiel (2005) himself writes that: The main principle of language change is for Paulhan (1927) association by resemblance in sound or sense, or analogy.

To demonstrate this, we shall take a look at two similar and in the past overlapping lexical items of flour and flower. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) puts forward the initial meaning of flour as the ‘flower’ or finest quality of meal. As OED further mentions, some authors like Cruden in 1738 recognize the difference between these terms, but others e.g. Johnson in 1755 fail to distinguish between them. INTERNAL LOANS



Internal loans are described by Grygiel and Kleparski (2009) as borrowings from non-standard varieties of a language. However, unlike the general understanding of the notion of borrowing, it does not include other languages, but rather various dialects and professional jargons. Another term forwarded by Hickey (2003) which may be connected with thie phenomenon of internal loans is shift in markedness1.

Therefore, as in the case of the word hardware, OED reports its initial meaning as small ware or goods of metal and only in the middle of the XX century one may find the present-day understanding of the term, which is called the physical components of a system or device. With regard to the markedness as emphasized by Hickey (2003), the second term becomes unmarked as a consequence of being common, while the first one becomes marked because of its rarity.