Varieties of the english language
The study of historical dynamics and linguistic change in the making of the modern English language. Comparative analysis of national versions of the vocabulary. The study of the classification of related languages. Features of regional dialects.
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VARIETIES OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
1. Theoretical background of the English language
1.1 The English-speaking world
1.2 Comparative analysis of the national varieties of the English language: the main concepts
1.3 Classification and related languages
2. The six main variants of the English Language
2.1 American English
2.2 Australian English
2.3 British English
2.4 Canadian English
2.5 Indian English
2.6 New Zealand English
English is a West Germanic language that developed in England during the Anglo-Saxon era. As a result of the military, economic, scientific, political, and cultural influence of the British Empire during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, and of the United States since the mid 20th century, it has become the lingua franca in many parts of the world. It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language in Commonwealth countries and many international organizations.
Historically, English originated from several dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers beginning in the 5th century. The language was influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, Old English developed into Middle English, borrowing heavily from the Norman (Anglo-French) vocabulary and spelling conventions. The etymology of the word "English" is a derivation from 12th century Old English: englisc or Engle, and plural form Angles, definition of, relating to, or characteristic of England.
Modern English developed with the Great Vowel Shift that began in 15th-century England, and continues to adopt foreign words from a variety of languages, as well as coining new words. A significant number of English words, especially technical words, have been constructed based on roots from Latin and ancient Greek.
Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca, is the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. Its spread beyond the British Isles began with the growth of the British Empire, and by the late nineteenth century its reach was truly global. Following British colonization in North America, it is the dominant language in the United States, whose growing economic and cultural influence and status as a global superpower since World War II have significantly accelerated the language's adoption across the planet. A working knowledge of English has become a requirement in a number of fields, occupations and professions such as medicine and computing, as a consequence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level. It is also one of six official languages of the United Nations.
Linguists such as David Crystal recognize that one impact of this massive growth of English, in common with other global languages, has been to reduce native linguistic diversity in many parts of the world, most particularly in Australasia and North America, and its huge influence continues to play an important role in language attrition. Similarly, historical linguists, aware of the complex and fluid dynamics of language change, are always aware of the potential English contains through the vast size and spread of the communities that use it and its natural internal variety, such as in its creoles and pidgins, to produce a new family of distinct languages over time.
The present work is primarily concerned with the analysis of the present-day varieties of the English language (national and regional). The analysis comprises description of the concrete characteristics of the national varieties of the English language including certain deviations from the "norm". So, the aim of our work is to analyze the present-day varieties of the English language including American, Australian, Canadian, Indian, British and New Zealand English.
The analysis consists of:
1. comparison of the national varieties of English, namely, American, Australian, British, Canadian, Indian and New Zealand English;
2. description of peculiarities of some regional standards of the varieties of the English language.
So, the objective of the present work is to define the main features of different but most popular variants of the English language.
The object of the research is variants of the English language.
The subject of the research is the investigation of the main features of the different variants of the English language. The hypothesis of the research is the supposition that the knowledge of the main features of variants of the English language and the knowledge of the differences between them will lead to the simpler and easier usage of the language as a communicative tool.
We consider that the present research is very up-to-date, because, as we know, there are many different variants of the most popular language of the world, that is English, and if we know only one of them and don't know the peculiarities of the others, it will lead to the serious problems within communication.
The work consists of the introduction, two main parts, the appendix.
In the introduction we define the aim and the objectives of the research, present the actuality of the theme, the methods used while doing the research, the hypothesis.
In the theoretical part we present a comparative analysis of the national varieties of the English language and a theoretical background of the English language including classification and related languages of English, geographical distribution of English, countries where English is a major language, then we present English as a global language, we give the information about the dialects and regional varieties and constructed varieties of English.
In the second part we considered the six main variants of the English language, that are American, Australian, British, Canadian, Indian and New Zealand variants of the English language. In this part we give full description of the main features of these languages.
1. Theoretical background of the English language
1.1 The English-speaking world
Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a "world language", the lingua franca of the modern era. While English is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a second language around the world. Some linguists (such as David Graddol) believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of "native English speakers", but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations, including the International Olympic Committee.
English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union (by 89% of schoolchildren), followed by French (32%), German (18%), Spanish (8%), and Russian, while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% English, 25% French, 22% German, and 16% Spanish. Among non-English speaking EU countries, a large percentage of the population claimed to have been able to converse in English in the Netherlands (87%), Sweden (85%), Denmark (83%), Luxembourg (66%), Finland (60%), Slovenia (56%), Austria (53%), Belgium (52%), and Germany (51%). Norway and Iceland also have a large majority of competent English-speakers.
Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world. English is also the most commonly used language in the sciences. In 1997, the Science Citation Index reported that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries (see Appendix).
English is the primary language in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia (Australian English), the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize (Belizean Kriol), Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, Canada (Canadian English), the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey (Channel Island English), Guyana, Ireland (Hiberno-English), Isle of Man (Manx English), Jamaica (Jamaican English), Jersey, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand (New Zealand English), Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United States (see Appendix).
In some countries where English is not the most spoken language, it is an official language, these countries include Botswana, Cameroon, Dominica, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (Philippine English), Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
It is also one of the 11 official languages that are given equal status in South Africa (South African English). English is also the official language in current dependent territories of Australia (Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos Island) and of the United States (Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico), the former British colony of Hong Kong, and Netherlands Antilles. (English is not an official language in either the United States or the United Kingdom. Although the United States federal government has no official languages, English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments. Although falling short of official status, English is also an important language in several former colonies and protectorates of the United Kingdom, such as Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, and United Arab Emirates. English is not a de jure official language of Israel, however, the country has maintained official language use a de facto role for English since the British mandate.
The expansion of the British Empire and since World War II the influence of the United States have spread English throughout the globe. Because of that global spread, English has developed a host of English dialects and English-based creole languages and pidgins.
Two educated native dialects of English have wide acceptance as standards in much of the world one based on educated southern British and the other based on educated Midwestern American. The former is sometimes called BBC (or the Queen's) English, and it may be noticeable by its preference for "Received Pronunciation", it typifies the Cambridge model, which is the standard for the teaching of English to speakers of other languages in Europe, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and other areas influenced either by the British Commonwealth or by a desire not to be identified with the United States.
The latter dialect, General American, which is spread over most of the United States and much of Canada, is more typically the model for the American continents and areas (such as the Philippines) which have had either close association with the United States or desire to be so identified. Aside from those two major dialects are numerous other varieties of English, which include, in most cases, several subvarieties, such as Cockney, Scouse and Geordie within British English, Newfoundland English within Canadian English, and African American Vernacular English ("Ebonics") and Southern American English within American English. English is a pluricentric language, without a central language authority like France's Academie francaise, and therefore no one variety is considered "correct" or "incorrect" except in terms of the expectations of the particular audience to which the language is directed.
Scots has its origins in early Northern Middle English and developed and changed during its history with influence from other sources, but following the Acts of Union 1707 a process of language attrition began, whereby successive generations adopted more and more features from Standard English, causing dialectalisation. Whether it is now a separate language or a dialect of English better described as Scottish English is in dispute, although the UK government now accepts Scots as a regional language and has recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. There are a number of regional dialects of Scots, and pronunciation, grammar and lexis of the traditional forms differ, sometimes substantially, from other varieties of English.
English speakers have many different accents, which often signal the speaker's native dialect or language. For the more distinctive characteristics of regional accents, see Regional accents of English, and for the more distinctive characteristics of regional dialects. Within England, variation is now largely confined to pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. At the time of the Survey of English Dialects, grammar and vocabulary differed across the country, but a process of lexical attrition has led most of this variation to die out.
Just as English itself has borrowed words from many different languages over its history, English loanwords now appear in many languages around the world, indicative of the technological and cultural influence of its speakers. Several pidgins and creole languages have been formed on an English base, such as Jamaican Patois, Nigerian Pidgin, and Tok Pisin. There are many words in English coined to describe forms of particular non-English languages that contain a very high proportion of English words.
Basic English is simplified for easy international use. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English. Some English schools in Asia teach it as a practical subset of English for use by beginners.
E-Prime excludes forms of the verb to be.
English reform is an attempt to improve collectively upon the English language.
Manually Coded English - a variety of systems have been developed to represent the English language with hand signals, designed primarily for use in deaf education. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries, which are independent and not based on English.
Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak, all based on restricted vocabularies, were designed by Edward Johnson in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. There is also a tunnel speak for use in the Channel Tunnel.
Special English is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words.
Thus the theoretical part was devoted to the theme of the English language as the most popular and wide-spread language of the world.
1.2 Comparative analysis of the national varieties of the English language: the main concepts
The English language, in its spoken form, is the national language of Great Britain, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and the greater part of the population in Canada.
Today all the English-speaking nations have their own national varieties of pronunciation. The national variety is defined as the speech of a nation.
Any language, in its spoken form, is likely to have variant forms, so that the existence of such varieties as American English, Australian English, Canadian English is in no way exceptional. However, these reciprocally intelligible varieties do not rank as “dialects” of British English. They represent national variants, or varieties of the English language. The concepts “national variant”, “literary pronunciation”, “variant of the literary pronunciation”, “dialect” are much debated in present-day linguistics and have no clear-cut definitions.
Following A.D. Schweitzer, the concept “national language” is treated as “a historical category evolving from conditions of economic and political concentration which categorize the formation of a nation”.
The pronunciation of every national variety of English has peculiar features that distinguish it from other varieties of English. However, all the national varieties also have much in common. Therefore, they are considered to be varieties of the same language, the English language. There is still another aspect of the problem which we cannot afford to overlook.
The national varieties of English pronunciation are by no means homogeneous. Every national variety has been affected by new environment and uses. On the one hand, “the transplanted language” has adapted to new situations, and on the other hand, it has become a conglomeration of, and compromise among, numerous forms of speech. It is fairly accurate to say that the polar varieties of the national language, in its spoken form, are the standard, or the literary, or the orthoepic norm of pronunciation, and dialects which exist as territorial varieties.
Standard pronunciation may be defined as the elaborated variety of the national language, in its spoken form, which obeys definite norms recognized as standard and, therefore, acceptable (implicitly) in all kinds and types of discourse. Standard pronunciation is the pronunciation governed by the orthoepic norm. The orthoepic norm is then “a regulator which determines the inventory of variants, the borders of variation and also acceptable and non-acceptable variations in pronunciation.
The standard includes in its inventory the pronunciation forms which reflect the main tendencies in pronunciation that exist in the language. It is the pronunciation used by educated people, typified by radio and TV announcers and recorded in pronunciation dictionaries as the “proper” and “correct” pronunciation.
However, standard pronunciation is not fixed and immutable. It is subject to change through the normal evolution of language and as a result of external factors (such as the movements of populations), though the rate are directly due to innovations.
Consequently, some pronunciation forms which were acceptable may become obsolete and vice versa, some pronunciation forms, or “new fashions” in pronunciation, may become acceptable and, thus, be entered in the inventory of standard pronunciation.
The factual material on the national varieties of English pronunciation testifies to the fact that each national variety may fall into several national standards which, too, are considered equally “correct” or acceptable. They may be described as varieties of the national standard pronunciation which have more similarities with it than differences. In other words, the regional standard has more features consistent with the norm than those at variance with it.
Regional standards are usually grouped into major dialect areas. Every regional standard of pronunciation is characterized by features that are common to all the dialects used in that region, dialects in their turn, are marked one from another by a set of features (in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar) that distinguish them from all the other dialects.
The relation of the regional standards of pronunciation towards dialects is no different from the relation of the national standard forms towards dialects.
A regional standard is a variety of the national standard.
A national variety of the language is a unified complex of regional and dialectal varieties.
Dialects may be geographical in the sense of being spoken by those living in certain areas. They may also be classified according to criteria other than geographical ones, i.e. sociolinguistic. These dialectal differences may arise from a variety of sources, such as locality, early influences, education, occupation, social surroundings, class distinctions, etc. Dialect speakers are, as a rule, the less educated part of the population.
Thus, dialects may be defined as varieties that are spoken by a socially limited number of people, or are characteristic of certain localities.
The degree to which dialects differ from the standard depends on a number of factors, such as the history of the development of the dialect, the socio-economic structure of the society, etc. Dialects often preserve features which have disappeared from its vernacular. Moreover, dialects remain free from outside interference. Dialect studies are particularly useful for problems of history, such as the development of English phonology, changes in the distribution of particular features, the survival of relics, the delimitation of culturally isolated areas, etc.
As M. Pei wisely notes "like other local differences of food, dress, and customs, dialects are often a nuisance. Yet they lend picturesque variety to language, and variety is the spice of life".
For reasons of political, economic and other social factors, one of the local dialects becomes the standard language of the nation, and the pronunciation of the dialect becomes the national standard, whereas the pronunciation of other dialects is regarded as substandard.
In the history of the English language in Great Britain dialects followed the familiar pattern. In the fifteenth century England was a continuum of regional dialects. With the rise of urbanism a standard language emerged, this was basically the London form of Southeast dialect. In the course of time it lost some of its local characteristics and was finally fixed as the speech of the educated class. It is essentially the pronunciation of the educated at public schools (which are private). It is largely through these schools that the pronunciation, known as Received Pronunciation, or RP, is perpetuated. RP is not the pronunciation of any region (except historically).
Today because of its use on radio and television within Britain RP has become the social standard. Great prestige is still attached to this implicitly accepted social standard of pronunciation. It has become more widely accepted through the advent of radio. Thus, RP is often identified in the public mind with "BBC English". It is the form of pronunciation most commonly described in books on the phonetics of British English and traditionally taught to foreigners.
It would be wrong to think, however, that RP is used by the entire population of Great Britain. It is the "accent" of a minority (incidentally, it is spoken by only 3% of the British population). Moreover, present-day RP is not homogeneous either.
A. Gimson, a British phonetician, within RP itself distinguishes three main types: "the conservative RP forms used by older generation and, traditionally, by certain professions or social groups, the general RP forms most commonly in use and typified by the pronunciation adopted by the BBC, and the advanced RP used by young people".
It should be also pointed out that the linguistic situation (including pronunciation) has changed greatly since the fifties due to communication, greater mobility, the influx of films, pop music, etc. from other English-speaking countries, especially the USA.
For instance, in the thirties and forties, as well as the post-war years, American films were dubbed in England. It is no longer the practice today.
Incidentally, A. Gimson also writes that improved communications and radio have rendered influences of American English: "An American pronunciation of English, for instance, is now completely accepted in Britain, this was not the case at the time when the first sound films were shown in this country, an American pronunciation then being considered strange and even difficult to understand".
Moreover, within Great Britain the popularity of the Beatles led to the acceptance of the "Liverpool accent" (not to mention the fact that in Great Britain along with RP Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Northern regional standards are distinguished).
All these cross-currents undoubtedly have a great influence on RP and its social status in Great Britain.
Analyzing present-day RP A.Gimson remarks, for instance, that "some members of the present younger generation reject RP because of its association with the "Establishment" they question the validity of other forms of traditional authority. For them a real or assumed regional or popular accent has a greater prestige. Such a change is made more likely through the recent more permissive attitude of the BBC (and of the commercial television companies) in their choice of announcers, several of whom now have markedly non-RP or non-British accents".
In contrast to RP American English is characterized by a greater variety of standard norms than RP in Great Britain. In the USA there is no unique standard. American English falls into several regional standards, namely, General American, Eastern American and Southern American which may be described as systems in which common features prevail over differences.
The differentiation between standard and dialectal forms of pronunciation is marked only in some regions, especially in the south of the country.
The observations of some Australian linguists lead to the conclusion that there are no local dialects or regional standards in Australia. Rather, speech differences are distributed in terms of social and personal features. Australia is, generally speaking, linguistically unified. However, to attribute uniformity to Australian speech is not to suggest that all Australians speak alike. Within the structure of the Australian sound system there are three variations from person to person that fall into well-defined groups. These groups of variations allow Australian linguists to postulate three varieties of Australian English: Cultivated Australian, General Australian and Broad Australian.
The situation is quite different in Canada. The status of Canadian English as that of a national variety is sometimes doubted by some linguists. It is often treated as a "blend of two varieties - British English and American English, exposed to their cross-currents with a more domineering pressure from American English".
If we take RP as a basis of comparison we notice that all the other national varieties of English pronunciation differ from it and one from another.
The differences are sufficient to give individuality and national colour to speech, but not so large as to define any of them as an independent language, or a dialect of RP.
It is through constant use and modification on the part of its speakers, however, that forms of spoken national varieties of the English language change.
Owing to communication devices today, such as radio, television, films, as well as the ever-growing mobility of population, or movement from one cultural group to another, the increasing urbanization and the spread of educational opportunities, regional and dialectal differences of national varieties of English pronunciation tend to become less marked. This does not mean, however, that the pronunciation of one dialect does not continue to differ from the pronunciation of another dialect.
As A. Marckwardt notes wisely "a Yorkshireman and an Alabamian will not understand one another easily and without some effort, but they will understand one another".
Therefore, we may maintain that in present-day English the number of local dialects tends to be reduced to a fewer regional standards. Regional standards, in their turn, tend to become levelled out. A. Gimson states on this account: "...the more marked characteristics of regional speech, and the polar forms of pronunciation, are tending to be modified. This tendency does not as yet mean that regional forms of pronunciation show signs of disappearing, but it has to be recognized that those who wish, for any reason, to modify their speech have models of RP always readily available to their ears".
This may be equally true of the other national varieties of English pronunciation.
1.3 Classification and related languages
The English language belongs to the Anglo-Frisian sub-group of the West Germanic branch of the Germanic Family of Indo-European languages. The closest living relatives of English are Scots, spoken primarily in Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland, and Frisian. As Scots is viewed by some linguists to be a group of English dialects rather than a separate language, Frisian is often considered to be the closest living relative.
After Scots and Frisian come those Germanic languages which are more distantly related, namely the non-Anglo-Frisian West Germanic languages (Low German, Dutch, Afrikaans, High German), and the North Germanic languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese).
With the exception of Scots, and on an extremely basic level, Frisian, none of the other languages is mutually intelligible with English, due in part to the divergences in lexis, syntax, semantics, and phonology, and to the isolation afforded to the English language by the British Isles, although some such as Dutch do show strong affinities with English. This isolation has allowed English and Scots to develop independently of the Continental Germanic languages and their influences over time.
Lexical differences with the other Germanic languages can arise from several causes, such as natural semantic drift caused by isolation, and heavy usage in English of words taken from Latin (for example, "exit", vs. Dutch uitgang) (literally "out-gang" with "gang" as in "gangway") and French "change" vs. German Anderung, "movement" vs. German Bewegung (literally "othering" and "be-way-ing" ("proceeding along the way")). Preference of one synonym over another can also cause a differentiation in lexis, even where both words are Germanic (for instance, both English care and German Sorge descend from Proto-Germanic karo and surgo respectively, but karo became the dominant word in English for "care" while in German, Dutch, and Scandinavian languages, the surgo root prevailed. Surgo still survives in English as sorrow).
Although the syntax of German is significantly different from that of English and other Germanic languages, with different rules for setting up sentences (for example, German Ich habe noch nie etwas auf dem Platz gesehen, vs. English "I have still never seen anything in the square"), English syntax remains extremely similar to that of the North Germanic languages, which are believed to have influenced English syntax during the Middle English Period (eg., Norwegian Jeg har likevel aldri sett noe i torget, Swedish Jag har annu aldrig sett nagot pa torget).
Dutch syntax is intermediate between English and German (eg. Ik heb nog nooit iets gezien op het plein).
In spite of this difference, there are more similarities between English and other Germanic languages than differences (eg. English bring/brought/brought, Dutch brengen/bracht/gebracht, Norwegian bringe/brakte/brakt, English eat/ate/eaten, Dutch eten/at/gegeten, Norwegian ete/at/ett), with the most similarities occurring between English and the languages of the Low Countries (Dutch and Low German) and Scandinavia.
Semantic differences cause a number of false friends between English and its relatives (eg. English time "time" vs Norwegian time "hour"), and differences in Phonology can obscure words which actually are genetically related ("enough" vs. German genug, Danish nok). Sometimes both semantics and phonology are different (German Zeit, "time", is related to English "tide", but the English word, through a transitional phase of meaning "period"/"interval", has come to mean gravitational effects on the ocean by the moon, the original meaning preserved only in combined forms like Yuletide and betide). These differences, though minor, proclude mutual intelligibility, yet English is still infinitely closer to other Germanic languages than to languages of any other family.
Finally, English has been forming compound words and affixing existing words separately from the other Germanic languages for over 1500 years and has different habits in that regard.
For instance, abstract nouns in English may be formed from native words by the suffixes "hood", "ship", "dom" and "ness". All of these have cognate suffixes in most or all other Germanic languages, but their usage patterns have diverged, as German "Freiheit" vs. English "freedom" (the suffix "heit" being cognate of English "hood", while English "dom" is cognate with German "tum"). Icelandic and Faroese are other Germanic languages which follow English in this respect, since, like English, they developed independent of German influences.
Many written French words are also intelligible to an English speaker (though pronunciations are often quite different) because English absorbed a large vocabulary from Norman and French, via Anglo-Norman after the Norman Conquest and directly from French in subsequent centuries. As a result, a large portion of English vocabulary is derived from French, with some minor spelling differences (word endings, use of old French spellings, etc.), as well as occasional divergences in meaning of so-called false friends.
The pronunciation of most French loanwords in English (with exceptions such as mirage or phrases like coup d'etat) has become completely anglicised and follows a typically English pattern of stress. Some North Germanic words also entered English because of the Danish invasion shortly before then, these include words such as "sky", "window", "egg", and even "they" (and its forms) and "are" (the present plural form of "to be").
2. The six main variants of the English Language
2.1 American English
American English (variously abbreviated Ame, AE, Ameng, USEng, en-US, also known as United States English, or U.S. English) is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States.
Approximately two thirds of native speakers of English live in the United States.
English is the most common language in the United States. Though the U.S. federal government has no official language, English is considered the de facto, "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law", language of the United States because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 30 of the 50 state governments.
The use of English in the United States was inherited from British colonization. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century. During that time, there were also speakers in North America of Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Finnish, Russian (Alaska) and numerous Native American languages.
Phonology In many ways, compared to English English, North American English is conservative in its phonology. Some distinctive accents can be found on the East Coast (for example, in Eastern New England and New York City), partly because these areas were in contact with England, and imitated prestigious varieties of English English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes. In addition, many speech communities on the East Coast have existed in their present locations longer than others.
The interior of the United States, however, was settled by people from all regions of the existing United States and, therefore, developed a far more generic linguistic pattern.
The red areas are those where non-rhotic pronunciations are found among some white people in the United States (see pic.).
Vocabulary North America has given the English lexicon many thousands of words, meanings, and phrases. Several thousand are now used in English as spoken internationally, others, however, died within a few years of their creation.
Creation of an American lexicon The process of coining new lexical items started as soon as the colonists began borrowing names for unfamiliar flora, fauna, and topography from the Native American languages. Examples of such names are opossum, raccoon, squash and moose (from Algonquian). Other Native American loanwords, such as wigwam or moccasin, describe artificial objects in common use among Native Americans. The languages of the other colonizing nations also added to the American vocabulary, for instance, cookie, cruller, stoop, and pit (of a fruit) from Dutch, levee, portage ("carrying of boats or goods") and (probably) gopher from French, barbecue, stevedore, and rodeo from Spanish.
Ranch, later applied to a house style, derives from Mexican Spanish, most Spanish contributions came after the War of 1812, with the opening of the West. Among these are, other than toponyms, chaps (from chaparreras), plaza, lasso, bronco, buckaroo, rodeo, examples of "English" additions from the cowboy era are bad man, maverick, chuck ("food") and Boot Hill, from the California Gold Rush came such idioms as hit pay dirt or strike it rich. The word blizzard probably originated in the West. A couple of notable late 18th century additions are the verb belittle and the noun bid, both first used in writing by Thomas Jefferson.
With the new continent developed new forms of dwelling, and hence a large inventory of words designating real estate concepts (land office, lot, outlands, waterfront, the verbs locate and relocate, betterment, addition, subdivision), types of property (log cabin, adobe in the 18th century, frame house, apartment, tenement house, shack, shanty in the 19th century, project, condominium, townhouse, split-level, mobile home, multi-family in the 20th century), and parts thereof (driveway, breezeway, backyard, dooryard, clapboard, siding, trim, baseboard, stoop (from Dutch), family room, den, and, in recent years, HVAC, central air, walkout basement).
Ever since the American Revolution, a great number of terms connected with the U.S. political institutions have entered the language, examples are run, gubernatorial, primary election, carpetbagger (after the Civil War), repeater, lame duck and pork barrel. Some of these are internationally used (e. g. caucus, gerrymander, filibuster, exit poll).
The rise of capitalism, the development of industry and material innovations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were the source of a massive stock of distinctive new words, phrases and idioms. Typical examples are the vocabulary of railroading (see further at rail terminology) and transportation terminology, ranging from names of roads (from dirt roads and back roads to freeways and parkways) to road infrastructure (parking lot, overpass, rest area), and from automotive terminology to public transit (e. g. in the sentence "riding the subway downtown"), such American introductions as commuter (from commutation ticket), concourse, to board (a vehicle), to park, double-park and parallel park (a car), double decker or the noun terminal have long been used in all dialects of English. Trades of various kinds have endowed (American) English with household words describing jobs and occupations (bartender, longshoreman, patrolman, hobo, bouncer, bellhop, roustabout, white collar, blue collar, employee, boss (from Dutch), intern, busboy, mortician, senior citizen), businesses and workplaces (department store, supermarket, thrift store, gift shop, drugstore, motel, main street, gas station, hardware store, savings and loan, hock (also from Dutch)), as well as general concepts and innovations (automated teller machine, smart card, cash register, dishwasher, reservation (as at hotels), pay envelope, movie, mileage, shortage, outage, blood bank).
In addition to the above-mentioned loans from French, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Dutch, and Native American languages, other accretions from foreign languages came with 19th and early 20th century immigration, notably, from Yiddish (chutzpah, schmooze, tush and such idioms as need something like a hole in the head) and German - hamburger and culinary terms like frankfurter/franks, liverwurst, sauerkraut, wiener, deli(catessen), scram, kindergarten, gesundheit, musical terminology (whole note, half note, etc.), and apparently cookbook, fresh ("impudent") and what gives? Such constructions as.
Are you coming with? and I like to dance (for "I like dancing") may also be the result of German or Yiddish influence.
Finally, a large number of English colloquialisms from various periods are American in origin, some have lost their American flavor (from OK and cool to nerd and 24/7), while others have not (have a nice day, sure), many are now distinctly old-fashioned (swell, groovy). Some English words now in general use, such as hijacking, disc jockey, boost, bulldoze and jazz, originated as American slang. Among the many English idioms of U.S. origin are get the hang of, take for a ride, bark up the wrong tree, keep tabs, run scared, take a backseat, have an edge over, stake a claim, take a shine to, in on the ground floor, bite off more than one can chew, off/on the wagon, stay put, inside track, stiff upper lip, bad hair day, throw a monkey wrench, under the weather, jump bail, come clean, come again?
It ain't over till it's over, what goes around comes around, and will the real x please stand up?
Morphology American English has always shown a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs. Examples of verbed nouns are interview, advocate, vacuum, lobby, room, pressure, rear-end, transition, feature, profile, belly-ache, spearhead, skyrocket, showcase, service (as a car), corner, torch, exit (as in "exit the lobby"), factor (in mathematics), gun ("shoot"), author (which disappeared in English around 1630 and was revived in the U.S. three centuries later) and, out of American material, proposition, graft (bribery), bad-mouth, vacation, major, backpack, backtrack, intern, ticket (traffic violations), hassle, blacktop, peer-review, dope and OD.
Many compound nouns have the form verb plus preposition: add-on, stopover, lineup, shakedown, tryout, spin-off, rundown ("summary"), shootout, holdup, hideout, comeback, cookout, kickback, makeover, takeover, rollback ("decrease"), rip-off, come-on, shoo-in, fix-up, tie-in, tie-up ("stoppage"), stand-in. These essentially are nouned phrasal verbs, some prepositional and phrasal verbs are in fact of American origin (spell out, figure out, hold up, brace up, size up, rope in, back up/off/down/out, step down, miss out on, kick around, cash in, rain out, check in and check out (in all senses), fill in ("inform"), kick in ("contribute"), square off, sock in, sock away, factor in/out, come down with, give up on, lay off (from employment), run into and across ("meet"), stop by, pass up, put up (money), set up ("frame"), trade in, pick up on, pick up after, lose out.
Noun endings such as -ee (retiree), -ery (bakery), -ster (gangster) and -cian (beautician) are also particularly productive. Some verbs ending in -ize are of U.S. origin, for example, fetishize, prioritize, burglarize, accessorize, itemize, editorialize, customize, notarize, weatherize, winterize, Mirandize, and so are some back-formations (locate, fine-tune, evolute, curate, donate, emote, upholster, peeve and enthuse). Among syntactical constructions that arose in the U.S. are as of (with dates and times), outside of, headed for, meet up with, back of, convince someone to…, not to be about to and lack for.
Americanisms formed by alteration of existing words include notably pesky, phony, rambunctious, pry (as in "pry open," from prize), putter (verb), buddy, sundae, skeeter, sashay and kitty-corner. Adjectives that arose in the U.S. are for example, lengthy, bossy, cute and cutesy, grounded (of a child), punk (in all senses), sticky (of the weather), through (as in "through train," or meaning "finished"), and many colloquial forms such as peppy or wacky. American blends include motel, guesstimate, infomercial and televangelist.
Differences between British English and American English American English and British English (Bre) differ at the levels of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary, and, to a lesser extent, grammar and orthography.
The first large American dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, was written by Noah Webster in 1828, Webster intended to show that the United States, which was a relatively new country at the time, spoke a different dialect from that of Britain.
Differences in grammar are relatively minor, and normally do not affect mutual intelligibility, these include: different use of some verbal auxiliaries, formal (rather than notional) agreement with collective nouns, different preferences for the past forms of a few verbs, different prepositions and adverbs in certain contexts, and whether or not a definite article is used, in very few cases.
Often, these differences are a matter of relative preferences rather than absolute rules, and most are not stable, since the two varieties are constantly influencing each other. Differences in orthography are also trivial. Some of the forms that now serve to distinguish American from British spelling (color for colour, center for centre, traveler for traveller, etc.) were introduced by Noah Webster himself, others are due to spelling tendencies in Britain from the 17th century until the present day and cases favored by the francophile tastes of 19th century Victorian England, which had little effect on Ame.
A sometimes favors words that are morphologically more complex, whereas Bre uses clipped forms, such as Ame transportation and Bre transport or where the British form is a back-formation, such as Ame burglarize and Bre burgle (from burglar). The most noticeable differences between Ame and Bre are at the levels of pronunciation and vocabulary.
2.2 Australian English
Variation and change of Australian English Three main varieties of Australian English are spoken according to linguists: Broad, General and Cultivated. They are part of a continuum, reflecting variations in accent. They often, but not always, reflect the social class or educational background of the speaker.
Broad Australian English is recognisable and familiar to English speakers around the world because it is used to identify Australian characters in non-Australian films and television programs. Examples are television/film personalities Steve Irwin and Paul Hogan. Slang terms Ocker, for a speaker, and Strine, a shortening of the word Australian for the dialect, are used in Australia.
The majority of Australians speak with the General Australian accent. This predominates among modern Australian films and television programs and is used by the Wiggles, Dannii Minogue, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and John Brumby.
Cultivated Australian English has some similarities to British Received Pronunciation, and is often mistaken for it. Cultivated Australian English is spoken by some within Australian society, for example Judy Davis and Geoffrey Rush.
There are no strong variations in accent and pronunciation across different states and territories, though some differences are sometimes claimed. Regional differences in pronunciation and vocabulary are small in comparison to those of the British and American English, and Australian pronunciation is determined less by region than by social, cultural and educational influences.
In Tasmania, words such as "dance" and "grant" are usually heard with the older pronunciation of these words, using [?], whereas in South Australia, [a] is more common. Other regions of Australia show different patterns of pronunciation of words with this vowel sound.
Phonology Australian English is a non-rhotic accent and it is similar to the other Southern Hemisphere accents (New Zealand English and South African English). Like most dialects of English it is distinguished primarily by its vowel phonology.
The vowels of Australian English can be divided into two categories: long and short vowels. The short vowels, consisting only of monophthongs, mostly correspond to the lax vowels used in analyses of Received Pronunciation. The long vowels, consisting of both monophthongs and diphthongs, mostly correspond to its tense vowels and centring diphthongs. Unlike most varieties of English, it has a phonemic length distinction: that is, certain vowels differ only by length.
The following features of Australian English are typically employed by the lower classes of Australian society (i.e. poor socio-economic background, low levels of education etc) whereas people with higher economic and/or educational standards speak in a manner which does not compress, shorten or remove these linguistic features.
The flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [?] before unstressed vowels (as in butter, party) and syllabic /l/ (bottle), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (what else, whatever). Thus, for most speakers, pairs such as ladder/latter, metal/medal, and coating/coding are pronounced identically.
Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may be realized as [n] or [?Ю], which can make winter and winner homophones. Interesting will sound like inner-resting. Most areas in which /nt/ is reduced to /n/, it is accompanied further by nasalization of simple post-vocalic /n/, so that V/nt/ and V/n/ remain phonemically distinct. In such cases, the preceding vowel becomes nasalized, and is followed in cases where the former /nt/ was present, by a distinct /n/. This stop-absorption by the preceding nasal /n/ does not occur when the second syllable is stressed, as in entails.
Vocabulary Australian English has many words that some consider unique to the language. One of the best known is outback, meaning a remote, sparsely populated area. Another is The Bush, meaning either a native forest or a country area in general. `Bush' is a word of Dutch origin: `Bosch'. However, both terms have been widely used in many English-speaking countries. Early settlers from England brought other similar words, phrases and usages to Australia. Many words used frequently by country Australians are, or were, also used in all or part of England, with variations in meaning. For example, creek in Australia, as in North America, means a stream or small river, whereas in the UK it means a small watercourse flowing into the sea, paddock in Australia means field, whereas in the UK it means a small enclosure for livestock, bush or scrub in Australia, as in North America, means a wooded area, whereas in England they are commonly used only in proper names (such as Shepherd's Bush and Wormwood Scrubs). Australian English and several British English dialects (for example, Cockney, Scouse, Glaswegian and Geordie) use the word mate.
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