A Sociolinguistic study of Chinese lexical change
Language varies in three major ways which are interestingly inter-related--over time, in physical space and socially (Holmes, 1992). Language change, in other words, is the variation over time. To study language change involves some of the hottest topics in linguistics, and it has important contributions to make to linguistics theory and to the understanding of nature (Campbell, 2004:1). Therefore, a number of scholars, past and present, are applying themselves to study and interpret different types of language change. Throughout linguistic history, research in the area of studying language change has coursed several phases. In the early years of modern linguistics, some researchers have maintained that linguistic change cannot be observed while it is actually occurring. Such narrative is generally considered as the traditional view of language change. The only changes, according to the traditional view, are those that can be demonstrated to have structural consequences. Most linguists following this principle therefore stated that all we can possibly observe are the consequences of change, rather than change itself (Wardhaugh, 2002: 189). Nonetheless, in recent decades, more and more linguists have become conscious of the ways of observing language change.