Friday, October 18, 2019

Language disruptors

The role that young women play as language disruptors is so clearly established at this point it’s practically boring to linguists who study this topic: well-known sociolinguist William Labov estimated that women lead 90 percent of linguistic change in a paper he wrote in 1990.

(I’ve attended more than a few talks at sociolinguistics conferences about a particular change in vowels or vocabulary, and it barely gets even a full sentence of explanation: “And here, as expected, we can see that the women are more advanced on this change than the men. Next slide.”)

Men tend to follow a generation later: in other words, women tend to learn language from their peers; men learn it from their mothers.
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

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