children and language change

Lise Menn, Linguistics, CU Boulder LMENN at CLIPR.COLORADO.EDU
Fri Jan 19 23:11:23 UTC 1996

This discussion is overlooking the last several decades of work by Bill Labov and his students on
the factors causing sound chances to spread.  He has a recent (T94 or T95) book on sound change out
from  Blackwell that people should consult.  And his work has shown in particular the importance
of young adults who are leaders in their social networks in making sound changes TtakeU.
        As for young kids - I know its tempting to consider their role as important - but reflect
that children have undoubtedly been overregularizing the past tense of TgoU as long as the verb has
been irregular - which probably means since proto-Indo-European - but because of its
frequency, they learn not to do it.
Lise  Menn

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