The Dynamics of Change in Language Practices and Social Meaning 1700–1900 (DYLAPS) project has recently been launched by Minna Palander-Collin, Minna Nevala and Anni Sairio. The project studies how changes in language practices and social factors are interrelated and how this relationship can be operationalized in research. We focus on language practices that relate to social groups, group distinctions, social aspirations and attitudes in the context of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain.
Group dynamics in this hierarchical society can be understood in terms of class, but also as a more complex and subtle phenomenon of individual, societal and linguistic factors. Two hundred years of British history provide the project with a test case for observing change on individual and societal levels and in various linguistic systems including person reference, social deixis and orthographic practices as a reaction to language standardization processes.
The social factors exist outside language, but are also linguistically created and expressed. When inter-group dynamics change due to major socio-economic processes such as industrialization, urbanization and the expansion of consumer culture, what role do language practices play? How are groups created and referred to in public discussions, how are new social aspirations and attitudes explicated and employed, and how do individual language practices tie in with broader social changes?
Visit https://blogs.helsinki.fi/prestigeseminar/ for our 2011 seminar Prestige in Language and History: Explorations in 18th- and 19th-century Europe.