Written Language Changes Too
We have talked a little in these few weeks about language change, and this is one thing I thought about while reading chapter twelve in Finnegan. As I looked at the graphs and diagrams, especially figure 12-2, the â€śEvolution of Cuneiform Writing From Pictogramsâ€? on page 422, it was so interesting to see one symbol or pictogram being modified in many different ways and evolve into a written form of language that carries meaning. Similar to how spoken language changes over time, from Old English to e-mail and internet talk, words change and take on new meaning. This is also seen in writing systems where symbols and pictograms eventually evolve into an alphabet and graphic symbols that represent a phoneme. I never thought of writing as an evolving, changing part of language, yet it went through a birthing process and changing period just like spoken language, and totally separate from spoken language. It is so amazing to look at the Rosetta Stone and see how language can be developed from the history we have of the remnants of language. Now there is a new Rosetta Stone that will be mass produced on mini disks and information will be available on the internet for other linguists and the public to see.
I also found the argument in Oaks interesting about linguistics being used as a tool for literary criticism. I have never thought of using linguistic methods to analyze literature due to the fact that I always thought linguistics picks apart the language without realizing more than what is seen on the phonetic level. Yet, the article in Oaks showed how linguistics can be helpful in literary criticism and provide different viewpoints and information for the critic. I now realize that many of the things I have learned and studied in this class will affect my own literary studies, and I donâ€™t think this hinders my literary thought, but enhances what I know about the language and the usage to greater understand the literature.