Sociolinguistics


Language Change and the Problems of Actuation, Transition and Embedding

The actuation, transition and embedding of change are central questions within the study of language change and they have been treated as the three central problems:

(1) The ACTUATION problem is concerned with an explanation of what it is that actually triggers language change. How do changes begin?

(2) The TRANSITION problem is concerned with the factors that are responsible for the spread of linguistic change within a speech community. How does change spread within a speech community?

(3) The EMBEDDING problem is concerned with the localization of change with respect to the linguistic and social settings in which this change is taking place. How is the change embedded in the surrounding linguistic and social system?