In this chapter the focus is on taboo and language development. Whether we are looking at the naming restrictions of Polynesia or the social taste constraints of English-speaking communities, taboo areas of the lexicon perpetuate instability. Existing vocabulary is often abandoned as speakers either borrow words or create new expressions; surviving vocabulary is often remodeled as speakers either give new meaning to old expressions or modify their pronunciation in some way. Thus word taboo is a counter-agent to the operation of regular change, and consequently plays havoc with the conventional methods of historical and comparative linguistics, which operate on principles such as the arbitrary nature of the word, the regularity of sound change and the non-existence of true synonyms.
|Title of host publication||The Oxford Handbook of Taboo Words and Language|
|Place of Publication||Oxford UK|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|