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A 10 lesson unit comprising of a 70 slide PowerPoint, 9 different worksheets (including texts for analysis) exploring the topic of Language Change and a summary terminology and theory sheet.

Each lesson includes a starting discussion prompt which acts as a learning objective, detailed notes on the theories and concepts listed below, a worksheet (with the exception of lesson nine) and activities, and a homework task. The following theories and concepts are covered:

  • Lexical, Semantic, Phonological, Grammatical and Orthographical processes
  • David Crystal – A Sea of Language Change and tidal metaphor (1999)
  • Diachronic and Synchronic Linguistic Change
  • Origins of Old English and Middle English
  • Descriptivism and Prescriptivism
  • Samuel Johnson – Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
  • Robert Lowth – A Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762)
  • Jonathan Swift – ‘A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue’ (1712)
  • John Walker – A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary (1791)
  • Otto Jespersen – Great Vowel Shift (1909)
  • William Caxton – Printing Press (1476)
  • John McWhorter – Textspeak (2013)
  • Jean Aitchison – Language Change Progress or Decay? (2012)
  • Vocal Fry and Uptalk
  • Martin Janssen – Lexical gaps (2012)
  • Functional view/theory
  • Linguistic determinism and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
  • Charles Hockett – Random Fluctuation Theory (1958)
  • Peter Trudgill – Language Myths (1990)
  • John Humphrys – Prescriptivist grammatical change
  • Lynne Truss – Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2003)
  • Jean Aitchison – A Web of Worries (1996)
  • Guy Deutscher – The Unfolding of Language (2006)
  • James Milroy and Lesley Milroy – Complaint tradition (1985)
  • Robert Lane Greene – You Are What You Speak (2011)

There are some references to AQA-style A Level specification questions, but you can adapt these if needs be. These can be found on slides 59-67. Lesson 9 is based on an AQA A Level question.

The final lesson is a consolidation activity complete with guided revision cards. Alternatively, you could use an app such as Quizlet so that the students could produce digital revision resources.

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Last Update: 28th March 2024
Released: 28th March 2024