Variances in connotations make new descriptive terminology and expressions assume new meanings. The meanings of words may also aimlessly “drift”, their functions having different value or implications with time. Furthermore, colloquial phrases may be regrouped to create new and unpredictable meanings that are different from the initial purpose of the phrase based on word grouping.
2. The Theme “Today’s Dialect is Tomorrow’s Language” runs through the text (p.92). McWhorter argues this as a kind of Mantra for the linguistic discussion: “Dialect is all there is.” Using McWhorter’s analysis of the eight languages of the Chinese Versus eight Chinese dialects, support your understanding of this theme in Chapter 2.
McWhorter used the theme of “Today’s Dialect is Tomorrow’s Language” to create the impression that language’s true understanding is obtained through the analysis of different dialects that are broadly considered as language because it is their direction that determine what will eventually be considered as proper usage over time. Various language branches with distance themselves become languages over time.
3. The author describes how language proceeds in myriad directions. Dialects form by migration, communication and education. How would you relate examples of the family tree of making stew in discussing how language change and mixing is inherent according to the author (p. 93-94). Chapter 3
In order to understand McWhorter’s ideas on the mixing and change of language, one has to analyze the way he compares language to cross pollination. Change of language is natural as various dialects are formed by groups of people change and move language to suit their specific needs in a way that complies with the “family tree” metaphor.