Sales Elsenousi at sinelnikovo.medcat.net
Fri Jan 11 16:11:06 EST 2008

Small-scale phonological changes are difficult to map and record, especially as the technology of sound recording only goes back a hundred years or so. So the only evidence we have of how language has changed over the centuries is written evidence of what human languages have sounded like.

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It could be said that spelling is stuck in the 15th Century, when William Caxton chose the East Midland dialect i.e. London (Wessex) variety of English for his first print in 1476. He had to discriminate against many duplicate words used in other areas of England (such as the East Anglia, Northumberland and Mercia). For example, the Southern word 'eyren' was unintelligible with the Northern equivalent, 'egges' (modern 'eggs'). Of course, you know which form became dominant by the fact that 'eyren' is not 
used in Modern English.

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Sociolinguistic interviews are an integral part of collecting data for sociolinguistic studies. There is an interviewer, who is conducting the study, and a subject, or informant, who is the interviewee. In order to get 
a grasp on a specific linguistic form and how it is used in the dialect of 
the subject, a variety of methods are used to elicit certain registers of speech. There are five different styles, ranging from formal to casual. The 
most formal style would be elicited by having the subject read a list of minimal pairs (MP). Minimal pairs are pairs of words that differ in only one phoneme, such as cat and bat. Having the subject read a word list (WL) will elicit a formal register, but generally not as formal as MP. 
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