Territorial varieties of English pronunciation

The historical background of the spread of English and different varieties of the language. Differences between British English and other accents and to distinguish their peculiarities. Lexical, phonological, grammar differences of the English language.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид курсовая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 26.06.2015

Introduction

Nowadays the English language has a status of the international language all over the world. Moreover, it has an official status in many countries. Consequently, the meaning of its knowledge has significantly increased during the last century. As we all know language change with time being likewise, English, as the international language which composed of the two major varieties, British and American English, they may change in dialects or another component of the language. When the change really happens, it, of course, causes systematic differences of language due to dialects or another component of language [1; 377]. When the change really happens, it of course, causes systematic differences of language due to dialect differences including pronunciation, vocabulary distinction, and syntactic rule differences. This is why languages become difference.

The aim of our work is to study territorial varieties of the English language in the countries where it has an official status.

The objectives of our work are as follows:

· to distinguish differences between Standard British English and other accents and to distinguish their peculiarities;

· to compare British and American English and to distinguish their similarities and differences.

The relevance of our work is enclosed in giving the information about the English language development in the countries where it has been chosen as an official language.

The object of our research is the English language varieties.

The subject of our research is lexical, phonological, grammar differences of the English language all over the world.

The hypothesis of this work is as follows: if we could watch English of through its history of development we would be able to foresee its future of the international language.

Methods of research:

· the method of scientific analysis of the information sources and references;

· comparative analysis of different accents in English;

· the method of analyzing and structuring.

The sphere of practical implementation of the work: this work may be used at the lessons of lexicology, stylistics, history of the English language, and linguistics.

Structure of the research includes introduction, two chapters, conclusion, and references.

In introduction the main hypothesis, goals, objectives are stated.

Chapter 1 introduces us to the historical background of the spread of English, and different varieties of the language.

Chapter 2 presents us the comparative analysis of British and American English.

1. English varieties

1.1 Historical background of the spread of English

The English language evolved from a set of West Germanic dialects spoken by the Angles and Saxons, who arrived from the Continent in the 5th century. Those dialects came to be known as Englisc (literally "Anglish"), the language today referred to as Anglo-Saxon or Old English (the language of the poem Beowulf) [2; 17]. English is thus more closely related to West Frisian than to any other modern language, although less than a quarter of the vocabulary of Modern English is shared with West Frisian or other West Germanic languages because of extensive borrowings from Norse, Norman, Latin, and other languages. It was during the Viking invasions of the Anglo-Saxon period that Old English was influenced by contact with Norse, a group of North Germanic dialects spoken by the Vikings, who came to control a large region in the North of England known as the Danelaw. Vocabulary items entering English from Norse (including the pronouns she, they, and them) are thus attributable to the on-again-off-again Viking occupation of Northern England during the centuries prior to the Norman Conquest. Soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066, the Englisc language ceased being a literary language and was replaced by Anglo-Norman as the written language of England. During the Norman Period, English absorbed a significant component of French vocabulary (approximately one-third of the vocabulary of Modern English). With this new vocabulary, additional vocabulary borrowed from Latin (with Greek, another approximately one-third of Modern English vocabulary, though some borrowings from Latin and Greek date from later periods), a simplified grammar, and use of the orthographic conventions of French instead of Old English orthography, the language became Middle English (the language of Chaucer). The "difficulty" of English as a written language thus began in the High Middle Ages, when French orthographic conventions were used to spell a language whose original, more suitable orthography had been forgotten after centuries of nonuse [3; 146]. During the late medieval period, King Henry V of England (lived 1387-1422) ordered the use of the English of his day in proceedings before him and before the government bureaucracies. That led to the development of Chancery English, a standardized form used in the government bureaucracy. (The use of so-called Law French in English courts continued through the Renaissance, however.)

The emergence of English as a language of Wales results from the incorporation of Wales into England and also dates from approximately this time period. Soon afterward, the development of printing by Caxton and others accelerated the development of a standardised form of English. Following a change in vowel pronunciation that marks the transition of English from the medieval to the Renaissance period, the language of the Chancery and Caxton became Early Modern English (the language of Shakespeare's day) and with relatively moderate changes eventually developed into the English language of today. Scots, as spoken in the lowlands and along the east coast of Scotland, developed independently from Modern English and is based on the Northern dialects of Anglo-Saxon, particularly Northumbrian, which also serve as the basis of Northern English dialects such as those of Yorkshire and Newcastle upon Tyne. Northumbria was within the Danelaw and therefore experienced greater influence from Norse than did the Southern dialects. As the political influence of London grew, the Chancery version of the language developed into a written standard across Great Britain, further progressing in the modern period as Scotland became united with England as a result of the Acts of Union of 1707.

There have been two introductions of English to Ireland, a medieval introduction that led to the development of the now-extinct Yola dialect and a modern introduction in which Hibernian English largely replaced Irish as the most widely spoken language during the 19th century, following the Act of Union of 1800. Received Pronunciation (RP) is generally viewed as a 19th century development and is not reflected in North American English dialects, which are based on 18th Century English.

The establishment of the first permanent English-speaking colony in North America in 1607 was a major step towards the globalisation of the language. British English was only partially standardised when the American colonies were established [4; 238]. Isolated from each other by the Atlantic Ocean, the dialects in England and the colonies began evolving independently.

In the 19th century, the standardisation of British English was more settled than it had been in the previous century, and this relatively well-established English was brought to Africa, Asia and Oceania. It developed both as the language of English-speaking settlers from Britain and Ireland, and as the administrative language imposed on speakers of other languages in the various parts of the British Empire. The first form can be seen in New Zealand English, and the latter in Indian English. In Europe English received a more central role particularly since 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was composed not only in French, the common language of diplomacy at the time, but also in English.

The English-speaking regions of Canada and the Caribbean are caught between historical connections with the UK and the Commonwealth, and geographical and economic connections with the U.S. In some things, and more formally, they tend to follow British standards, whereas in others they follow the U.S. standard. language english british accent

1.2 British English

There are slight regional variations in formal written English in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described as "British English". The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, and a uniform concept of "British English" is therefore more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English [5; 45], "for many people...especially in England the phrase British English is tautologous," and it shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word British, and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

The form of English most commonly associated with the upper class in the southern counties of England is called Received Pronunciation (RP). It derives from a mixture of the Midland and Southern dialects which were spoken in London in the early modern period and is frequently used as a model for teaching English to foreign learners. Although speakers from elsewhere in England may not speak with an RP accent it is now a class-dialect more than a local dialect. It may also be referred to as "the Queen's (or King's) English", "Public School English", or "BBC English" as this was originally the form of English used on radio and television, although a wider variety of accents can be heard these days. About two percent of Britons speak RP, and it has evolved quite markedly over the last 40 years.

In the South East there are significantly different accents; the London Cockney accent is strikingly different from RP and its rhyming slang can be difficult for outsiders to understand. In the South Eastern county of Surrey, where RP is prevalent, closer to London it approaches Cockney, further south it becomes more rural, and this continues through Sussex and Hampshire where the accents and language are even more rustic [6; 117]. In fact the accents and dialect of the south coast can range from the classic South Eastern RP through rustic and gradually to a West Country accent as one passes through Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon and finally into Cornwall, where the Celtic language of Cornish is also spoken by some people. The Cornish language had a considerable influence on the traditional Cornish accent and dialect, which is still evident today among older Cornish people, for example saying "I do go" for "I go".

Estuary English has been gaining prominence in recent decades: it has some features of RP and some of Cockney. In London itself, the broad local accent is still changing, partly influenced by Caribbean speech. Communities migrating to the UK in recent decades have brought many more languages to the country. Surveys started in 1979 by the Inner London Education Authority discovered over 100 languages being spoken domestically by the families of the inner city's school children. As a result, Londoners speak with a mixture of accents, depending on ethnicity, neighbourhood, class, age, upbringing, and sundry other factors [7; 45].

Since the mass immigration to Northamptonshire in the 1940s and its close accent borders, it has become a source of various accent developments. There, nowadays, one finds an accent known locally as the Kettering accent, which is a mixture of many different local accents, including East Midlands, East Anglian, Scottish, and Cockney. In addition, in the town of Corby, five miles (8 km) north, one can find Corbyite, which unlike the Kettering accent, is largely based on Scottish. This is due to the influx of Scottish steelworkers.

Outside the South East there are, in England alone, other families of accents easily distinguished by natives, including:

· West Country (South West England)

· East Anglian

· West Midlands (Black Country, Birmingham)

· East Midlands

· Liverpool and Wirral (Scouse)

· Manchester (Mancunian) and other east Lancashire accents

· Yorkshire (Varies significantly in each region.)

· Newcastle (Geordie) and other northeast England accents

Major differences in Scottish accents include:

· Glasgow and Strathclyde (Glaswegian/West Scotland Accent or "Weegie")

· Edinburgh and Lothian (East Scotland Accent)

· Aberdeen and Grampian (Aberdonian/North East Accent)

· Dundee and Fife

· Inverness and Highlands

Although some of the stronger regional accents may sometimes be difficult for some anglophones from outside Britain to understand, almost all "British English" accents are mutually intelligible amongst the British themselves, with only occasional difficulty between very diverse accents [8; 219]. However, modern communications and mass media have reduced these differences significantly. A small number of British films have been dubbed when released in America as Americans struggle to understand certain dialects (e.g. Kes in the Yorkshire dialect, Trainspotting in the Edinburgh dialect).

In addition, most British people can to some degree temporarily 'swing' their accent towards a more neutral form of English at will, to reduce difficulty where very different accents are involved, or when speaking to foreigners. This phenomenon is known in linguistics as code shifting.

1.3 American English

Written American English is fairly standardized across the country. However, there is some variation in the spoken language. There are several recognizable regional variations (such as that spoken in New York and New Jersey), particularly in pronunciation, but also in slang vocabulary [9;24].

Most traditional sources cite Standard Midwestern American English as the unofficial standard accent and dialect of American English. However, many linguists claim California English has become the de facto standard since the 1960s or 1970s due to its central role in the American entertainment industry; others argue that the entertainment industry, despite being in California, uses Midwestern.

African-American colloquial English (sometimes called Ebonics) contains many distinctive forms.

Regional dialects in North America are most strongly differentiated along the eastern seaboard. The distinctive speech of important cultural centers like Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Charleston, South Carolina, and New Orleans, Louisiana imposed their marks on the surrounding areas. The Potomac River generally divides a group of Northern coastal dialects from the beginning of Southern coastal dialects [10; 75]. A distinctive speech pattern was also generated by the separation of Canada from the United States, centered on the Great Lakes region.

In the interior, the situation is very different. West of the Appalachian Mountains begins the large river of what is generally called "Midland" speech. This is divided into two general subdivisions, the north Midlands that begins north of the Ohio River valley area; and the south Midlands speech. The North Midlands speech continues to expand westward until it becomes the closely related speech of California [11; 16]. This is the "standard Midwestern" speech that is generally considered free from regional marking in the United States of America.

The southern Midlands dialect follows the Ohio River in a generally southwesterly direction, moves across Arkansas and Oklahoma west of the Mississippi, and peters out in western Texas. This is the dialect associated with truck drivers on the CB radio and country music. It is a version of the Midlands speech that has assimilated some coastal Southern forms, most noticeably the loss of the diphthong /aj/, which becomes /a:/, and the second person plural pronoun "you-all" or "y'all". Unlike coastal Southern, however, southern Midlands is a rhotic dialect, pronouncing /r/ wherever it has historically occurred [12; 158].

The sounds of American speech can be identified with a number of public figures. President John F. Kennedy spoke the Northeastern coastal dialect associated with Boston, while President Jimmy Carter spoke with a Southern coastal dialect. The North Midlands speech is familiar to those who have heard Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, while the South Midlands speech was the speech of President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

American English has always shown a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs. Examples of verbed nouns are interview, advocate, vacuum, lobby, 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 United States 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, and, of course verbed as used at the start of this sentence. The saying goes, 'In the United States of America there is no such thing as a noun that can't be "verbed"'.

Compounds coined in the United States are for instance foothill, flatlands, badlands, landslide (in all senses), overview (the noun), backdrop, teenager, brainstorm, bandwagon, hitchhike, smalltime, deadbeat, frontman, lowbrow and highbrow, hell-bent, foolproof, nitpick, about-face (later verbed), upfront (in all senses), fixer-upper, no-show; many of these are phrases used as adverbs or (often) hyphenated attributive adjectives: non-profit, for-profit, free-for-all, ready-to-wear, catchall, low-down, down-and-out, down and dirty, in-your-face, nip and tuck; many compound nouns and adjectives are open: happy hour, fall guy, capital gain, road trip, wheat pit, head start, plea bargain; some of these are colorful (empty nester, loan shark, ambulance chaser, buzz saw, ghetto blaster, dust bunny), others are euphemistic (differently abled, human resources, physically challenged, affirmative action, correctional facility).

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.[13] 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.

A number of words and meanings that originated in Middle English or Early Modern English and that always have been in everyday use in the United States dropped out in most varieties of British English; some of these have cognates in Lowland Scots. Terms such as fall ("autumn"), faucet, diaper, candy, skillet, eyeglasses, crib (for a baby), obligate, and raise a child are often regarded as Americanisms [13; 245]. Fall for example came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year". During the 17th century, English immigration to the British colonies in North America was at its peak and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America. Gotten (past participle of get) is often considered to be an Americanism, although there are some areas of Britain, such as Lancashire and North-eastern England, that still continue to use it and sometimes also use putten as the past participle for put (which is not done by most speakers of American English).

Other words and meanings, to various extents, were brought back to Britain, especially in the second half of the 20th century; these include hire ("to employ"), quit ("to stop," which spawned quitter in the U.S.), I guess (famously criticized by H. W. Fowler), baggage, hit (a place), and the adverbs overly and presently ("currently"). Some of these, for example monkey wrench and wastebasket, originated in 19th century Britain.

1.4 Canadian English

In many respects, the spelling of Canadian English is intermediate between British English and American English. However, the spoken language is much closer to American English than British English. It is also influenced by Canadian French, as Canada has both English and French as official languages.

In general, Canadian pronunciation is almost identical to American pronunciation, especially in Ontario. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, there is a strong Scottish influence and in Ottawa Valley there is an Irish influence. The pronunciation of people living near, or working with French-Canadians is greatly influenced by French and the island of New Foundland has its own distinctive English dialect [14; 416]

The most famous difference between Canadian and American pronunciation is the ou sound in words like house and out, which sound to American ears like hoose and oot (some say the words sound more like hoase and oat). Canadians also tend to pronounce cot the same as caught and collar the same as caller. Keen ears will hear a Canadian distinction in certain vowels: the i comes out differently in knife and in knives, in bite and in bide, and in price and prizes. Many Canadians also will turn t sounds into d sounds, so the name of the capital sounds like “Oddawa”.

There is no universally accepted standard of Canadian spelling. In general, Canadians agree with British usage as to -our (honour, colour, endeavour) as well as the usage of -re (centre, theatre) along with many other classes of British/American spelling distinctions [15; 51]. In most cases, -ize (plagiarize, dramatize, realize) is preferred to -ise in words where either ending is possible, but the British -yse (analyse) is usual. American spellings prevalent in Canada include aluminum, artifact, jail, curb, program, specialty, tire, and carburetor. (See American and British English differences.) (There are occasional exceptions: One of the main jails in Toronto, Ontario is officially called the 'Don Gaol.') Also, several lexical items come from British English or even archaic British English, such as lieutenant (/lEf/-) and light standard (lamp-post). Several political terms are uniquely Canadian, including riding (electoral district) and win by acclamation (to win uncontested).

A plausible contemporary reference for formal Canadian spelling is the spelling used for Hansard transcripts of the Canadian Parliament [16; 244].

Canadian English also has its own words not found in other variants of English. Like other dialects of English that exist in proximity to francophones, French loanwords have entered Canadian English, such as:

· serviette, meaning "napkin";

· poutine, a dish made with home-made french fries and melted cheese curd topped with gravy;

· depanneur, a corner store (convenience store), shortened to "dep" (Quebec only);

· allophone, someone who speaks a first language other than English or French;

· anglophone, someone whose first language is English;

· francophone, someone whose first language is French;

· tuque, a close-fitting woolen winter hat (the spelling toque is assimilated from a different kind of hat);

· historical and political terms such as voyageur, Automatiste, Quiet Revolution, bloquiste.

In 1998 Oxford University Press produced a Canadian English Dictionary after 5 years of lexicographical research. It listed uniquely Canadian words, words borrowed from other languages and was able to survey whether colour or color was the most popular choice in common use [17].

Uniquely Canadian English words include:

· Loonie: The unofficial name for Canada's one-dollar gold-coloured coin carrying an image of a Loon on one side

· Toonie: The unofficial name for Canada's two-dollar coin, the name obviously referring to the number two and the Loonie that pre-dated it

· Garburator: The garbage disposal unit located beneath the drain of a kitchen sink -- a rare appliance in Canada, in contrast with the United States.

· Parkade: Parking garage

· eavestrough: gutter

· Chesterfield: A sofa, couch or loveseat

Also, when pronouncing letters of the alphabet, Canadians will often use the Anglo-European "zed" rather than the American "zee" for the letter Z.

The recommended spelling authority is the Gage Canadian Dictionary, since it reflects the usage of most federal government departments and agencies more closely than do the Webster's or Oxford dictionaries, is based on research into Canadian usage, and contains specifically Canadian terms. When it lists two spellings for a word in the same entry, choose the one entered first. When two spellings are given separate entries, choose the primary spelling, which is the one followed by the definition (the variant simply refers the reader to the primary spelling entry) [18; 220]. For scientific and technical words not in Gage, check Webster's Third New International Dictionary.

There are a few regional differences in the vowels of Canadian English dialects. The feature of -retraction is not found in Newfoundland English or in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Some of these regions, notably Newfoundland and rural Nova Scotia, actually have a wide range of distinct varieties that are quite distinct from Canadian English.

One property of central and western Canadian English is in the pronunciation of the high back vowel [u] as fronted and diphthongized instead of a fully back monophthong. The variation between the two pronunciations is such that a single speaker could use either, especially in Southern Ontario, and while research on this variable is lacking, it seems to be a characteristic of the English spoken in the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

1.5 Australian English

Australian English began diverging from British English shortly after the foundation of the Australian penal colony of New South Wales in 1788. British convicts sent there, (including Cockneys from London), came mostly from large English cities. They were joined by free settlers, military personnel and administrators, often with their families. However, a large part of the convict body were Irish, with at least 25% directly from Ireland, and others indirectly via Britain; estimates mention that possibly 60% of the convicts were Irish [19; 386]. There were other populations of convicts from non-English speaking areas of Britain, such as the Welsh and Scots. English was not spoken, or was poorly spoken, by a large part of the convict population and the dominant English input was that of Cockney from South-East England.

In 1827 Peter Cunningham, in his book Two Years in New South Wales, reported that native-born white Australians of the time--known as "currency lads and lasses" [20; 53]--spoke with a distinctive accent and vocabulary, with a strong Cockney influence. The transportation of convicts to Australia ended in 1868, but immigration of free settlers from Britain, Ireland and elsewhere continued.

Among the changes brought by the gold rushes was "Americanisation" of the language--the introduction of words, spellings, terms, and usages from North American English. The words imported included some later considered to be typically Australian, such as dirt and digger. Bonzer, which was once a common Australian slang word meaning "great", "superb" or "beautiful", is thought to have been a corruption of the American mining term bonanza, which means a rich vein of gold or silver and is itself a loanword from Spanish. The influx of American military personnel in World War II brought further American influence; though most words were short-lived; and only okay, you guys, and gee have persisted.

British words such as mobile (phone) predominate in most cases. Some American, British and Australian variants exist side-by-side; in many cases - freeway, motorway and highway, for instance - regional, social and ethnic variation within Australia typically defines word usage.

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 [21]. The long vowels, consisting of both monophthongs and diphthongs, mostly correspond to its tense vowels and centering diphthongs. Unlike most varieties of English, it has a phonemic length distinction: that compresses, shortens or removes these features.

· Many speakers have also coalesced /dj/, /sj/ and /tj/ into /d?/, /?/ and /t?/, producing standard pronunciations such as [t?????n] for tune.

· t, dd and s in the combinations tr, dr and sr (this latter loan words only) also fall in with /d?/, /?/ and /t?/ for many speakers, and for all speakers in the case of sr in loan words, thus tree /t???i:/, draw /d????/ and Sri Lanka /??i'l??k?/.

· In colloquial speech intervocalic /t/ undergoes voicing and flapping to the alveolar tap [?] after the stressed syllable and before unstressed vowels (as in butter, party) and syllabic /l/, though not before syllabic /n/ (bottle vs button [batn]), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (what else, whatever). In formal speech /t/ is retained. However, the alveolar flap is normally distinguishable by Australians from the intervocalic alveolar stop /d/, which is not flapped, thus ladder and latter, metal and medal, and coating and coding remain distinct; further, when coating becomes coatin' , the t remains voiceless, thus [k?utn]. This is a quality that Australian English shares with some other varieties of English.

· Intervocalic /nt/ in fast speech can be realised as [n], another trait shared other varieties of English at the colloquial or dialect level, though in formal speech the full form /nt/ is retained. This makes winter and winner homophones in fast speech. 1999 was a great year for EFL teachers in Australia to illustrate this : "nineen-niny-nine".

In Australian English the /r/ sound can only occur before a vowel. Many words which sound different in other accents sound the same in Australian English. Some examples are:

· caught and court

· raw and roar

· aunt and aren't

· formally and formerly

Some Australian English vowels sound different to vowels of other kinds of English. For example, the vowel in day starts with a very open mouth. This makes the Australian day sound close to the die of most British or American people.

Australian English has some vowels not used in some other kinds of English. For example, the words bad and lad do not rhyme because bad has a long vowel and lad has a short one. Also, cot does not sound like caught and bother does not rhyme with father.

As with American English the /t/ sound can sometimes sound like a /d/ sound. This usually happens between vowels. So, for example,

· waiter can sound like wader

· betting can sound like bedding

· got it can sound like god it

· thirteen can sound like thuddeen

Also in the Australian accent a /t/ sound plus the sound of you comes out sounding like chew and a /d/ sound plus the sound of you comes out sounding like Jew. Here are some examples of things which sound the same.

· Tuesday and choose day

· lightyear and lie cheer

· due and Jew

· dune and June

Australians pronounce wh and w the same. Some examples are:

· which and witch

· whether and weather

· whales and Wales

Australian English is most similar to New Zealand English, due to their similar history and geographical proximity. Both use the expression different to (also encountered in British English, but not American) as well as different from, though with a semantic difference (different to highlights the "closeness" or "neutrality" of the difference, while different from highlights the difference).

Words of Irish origin are used, some of which are also common elsewhere in the Irish diaspora, such as bum for "backside" (Irish bun), tucker for "food", "provisions" (Irish tacar), as well as one or two native English words whose meaning have changed under Irish influence, such as paddock for "field", cf. Irish pairc, which has exactly the same meaning as the Australian paddock [22; 171].

Diminutives are commonly used and are often used to indicate familiarity. Some common examples are arvo (afternoon), barbie (barbecue), smoko (smoking break), Aussie (Australian) and pressie (present). The last two are pronounced /??zi/ and /?pr?zi/ respectively, never with a voiceless 's'.

This may also be done with people's names to create nicknames (other English speaking countries create similar diminutives). For example, "Gazza" from Gary.

Incomplete comparisons are sometimes used, such as "sweet as".

South Australia's use of the expression "heaps good" is famous among the other states of Australia. The expression is often used during South Australian tourism advertisements.

Litotes, such as "not bad", "not much" and "you're not wrong", are often used.

Many idiomatic phrases and words once common in Australian English are now stereotypes and caricatured exaggerations, and have disappeared from everyday use. Such outdated and occasionally parodied terms include strewth, you beaut and crikey, though many of these terms are still commonplace in rural areas such as the Wimmera.

Australian English also incorporates several uniquely Australian terms, such as outback to refer to remote regional areas, and bush to refer to native forested areas, but also to regional areas as well. Fair dinkum can mean are you telling me the truth?, or this is the truth!, or even this is ridiculous! depending on context. Of disputed origin, dinkum is traditionally claimed to date back to the gold rush in the 1850s, "din-kum" being derived from the Cantonese for "real gold": "fair dinkum" is the genuine article. (More recently, 'dinkum' is said to derive from English slang for 'hard work' or 'fair work'). G'day is well known as a stereotypical Australian greeting.("G'day" is not quite synonymous with "good day", and is never used as an expression for "farewell".) Many of these terms have been adopted into British English via popular culture and family links.

Some elements of Aboriginal languages have been incorporated into Australian English, mainly as names for places, flora and fauna (e.g. Dingo, kangaroo). Beyond that, very few terms have been adopted into the wider language. A notable exception is Cooee (a musical call which travels long distances in the bush and is used to say 'is there anyone there?'), which can also be used as a term for an audible range of distance ("If he's within cooee of here we'll spot him"). Though often thought of as an Aboriginal word, Didgeridoo/Didjeridu (a well known wooden musical instrument) is usually considered to be an onomatopaoeic word of Western invention. It has also been suggested that it may have an Irish derivation.

Australian English has a unique set of diminutives formed by adding -o or -ie to the ends of (often abbreviated words). There does not appear to be any particular pattern to which of these suffixes is used. Examples with the -o ending include abo (aborigine - now considered very offensive), arvo (afternoon), servo (service station), rego (annual motor vehicle registration) and ambo (ambulance officer). The Salvation Army is often referred to as "The Salvos". Examples of the -ie ending include barbie (barbecue), bikkie (biscuit) and blowie (blowfly). Occasionally, a -za diminutive is used, usually for personal names where the first of multiple syllables ends in an "r". Barry becomes Bazza, Karen becomes Kazza and Sharon becomes Shazza. Most popular and common is the -z diminutive form, whereby Karen becomes Kaz, Barry becomes Baz and Sharon beomes Shaz.

1.6 New Zealand English

The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. The most distinctive influences on New Zealand English have come from Australian English, British English in Southern England, Irish English, Scottish English, the prestige Received Pronunciation, and the Mвori language. New Zealand English is similar to Australian English in pronunciation, with some key differences. One of the most prominent differences is the realisation of /?/: in New Zealand English, as in some South African varieties, this is pronounced as a schwa.

Geographically New Zealand consists of two main islands located in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Linguistically English is almost the only language spoken in public domains in New Zealand. In this, New Zealand differs from Canada, South Africa, and the Caribbean where many speakers are bi- and multilingual. It is also unlike Australia, where the languages of the large non-British migrant communities who settled in Australia after the Second World War are still spoken outside the home by many first and second generation migrants [23; 173]. In New Zealand the indigenous language Maori is seldom spoken in general public communication, despite major revitalization initiatives since the 1980s. In addition, the languages of the small groups of European migrants have also largely disappeared from general public audibility. Only two groupings of immigrants still speak their languages extensively outside the home domain - the Pacific Islands Polynesians who settled in New Zealand from the 1950s, and the more recently arrived migrants, particularly from Asia since the 1980s.

The two most conspicuous features of New Zealand English observed in relation to other international varieties of the language are its phonology and its lexis [24; 215]. An element of grammatical distinctiveness undoubtedly also exists, but consisting largely in preferences for and frequencies of certain kinds of construction this is more `hidden' aspect of New Zealand English that few will be consciously aware of.

Of the two more overtly distinctive levels of structure in New Zealand English, phonology (the accent) has to date received a far greater share of linguists' attention than has lexis (the vocabulary).

Most of the individual consonant phonemes of New Zealand English are not particularly remarkable and are similar to other varieties of English. /w/ is slip rounded, and so are / ? / and /?/ and the affricates /t?/ and /d?/. New Zealand English is an /h/-full variety of English, so that /h/-dropping only occurs on unstressed grammatical words like have or has or pronouns like he, his. In a sentence like He's got his books with him, hasn't he? The phrase initial he and hasn't will usually be pronounced with /h/, where the abbreviated has and his, him and the final he probably will not. It is extremely uncommon to hear /h/ dropped from content words like house or horse in New Zealand and herb is pronounced with initial /h/ as in England, rather than without it, as in America.

One additional very important source of New Zealand English vocabulary, and that which makes it uniquely different from any other English dialect, is te reo Maori - the Maori language. As the North American colonists borrowed hundreds of words from Native American and First Nations people, so the Pakeha appropriated a large number of words to describe phenomena unknown to them. While the large Australian continent was inhabited by scattered groups of gatherer-hunters speaking over 200 distinct languages, New Zealand was occupied by a largely agricultural people speaking a single language. It should also be said that while the Maori were persecuted by the Pakeha settlers, they were not victimized (or even exterminated) like the Aboriginal people of Australia. This all made for a single unified source of Pakeha borrowings [25; 351]. Most of the Maori words coming into New Zealand English were for plants and animals - trees like kauri, totora, and rimu; birds like the extinct giant moa, the eponymous kiwi, the white heron or kotuku, and the songbird tui; and fish and shellfish like hoki, toheroa, and cockabully (from kokopu-a small freshwater fish). But cultural words were also borrowed, like whare nui, "meeting house"-literally "big house"; marae, "ceremonial ground"; mana, "authority"; and tapu, "sacred, taboo". Since the Maori language is closely related to Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan, and the other Polynesian languages many of these words can be found all over the eastern Pacific.

Although lay people confidently assert the existence of regional varieties of New Zealand English, linguists have produced very little evidence to support such claims. There are vocabulary items special to, or favoured by, the people of Southland and the West Coast of the South Island; there are traces of non-prevocalic /r/in Southland and Otago; and there are regional differences in the playground language of New Zealand school children. Attempts to identify further differences between regions have generally not been successful.

In most cases linguistic evidence has pointed to either social class or ethnic variation, but not to regional variation. Nevertheless, many New Zealanders assert that a Taranaki variety of New Zealand English exists. This study was designed to test the validity of the claim by comparing samples of New Zealand English from Taranaki with samples from Wellington [26]. The Taranaki sample included speakers from New Plymouth (population 50,000) and the South Taranaki dairy farming community. The Wellington sample was drawn from the Greater Wellington region extending from Porirua in the north to suburbs on the southern coast of the city. Interviewees were located by the social network approach, otherwise known as the 'friend of a friend' approach advocated by Lesley Milroy (1980, 1987). An index of rural orientation was devised to indicate the degree to which a speaker was oriented towards town or country. This proved helpful in distinguishing between genuinely regional differences, and rural versus urban differences. Factors of gender and age were also considered. It has been claimed that Taranaki English has a 'sing-song' quality, suggesting that an investigation of the intonation of Taranaki speakers would be worthwhile [27; 93]. Comparing features of the intonation of a Taranaki sample with a Wellington sample, this thesis attempts to isolate and measure what contributes to the 'sing-song' perception of Taranaki English. 'Singsong' in this context was taken to mean that the speaker had dynamic pitch; in other words their speech was characterised by a lot of movement up and down in pitch. Auditory analysis of speech samples was undertaken, and intonation features were derived from that analysis. Averaging the number of times a speaker changed pitch direction in each intonation group and then in each accent unit provided global measures of changes in pitch direction. Analysis of nuclear accents gave an indication of whether speakers favoured tunes which were characterised by pitch movement. And analysis of the manner in which accents were approached, whether with a boosted step up in pitch, or with a more standard onset, provided a narrower focus on the amount of pitch movement present. Results indicated that, in general, most Taranaki speakers in the sample showed more pitch dynamism than the Wellingtonians; for some features the males showed more pitch dynamism than the females; and, overall, the elderly speakers showed more pitch dynamism than the younger speakers. There were, however, important exceptions to these generalisations. Factors of Location, Gander and Age interacted significantly for all but one of the features examined and there were clear indications that intonational patterns are undergoing change in both regions studied. Explanations for the exceptional cases are explored in the thesis, and sociolinguistic, social network and geolinguistic theories provide possible clues as to the sources of the differences. Evidence of differences in the degree of pitch dynamism present in the intonation of the Taranaki and Wellington speakers supports claims about regional variation in New Zealand English intonation, but it does not in itself prove the existence of a uniquely Taranaki or a uniquely Wellington way of speaking English.

Chapter 1 was devoted to different English accents in the countries where English has an official status.

2. Comparative analysis of American and British English

2.1 Historical preconditions of American English changes

A remarkable feature of the tendency for simplification in American English is that, at least in its historical beginning, it was a conscious and planned process. The historical context was provided by the War of Independence. A key figure in the “cultural and linguistic War of Independence” was Noah Webster [28; 163]. Webster wanted to have a new uniform English in the new country, a vision that was most fully shared with him by H.L. Mencken more than a hundred years later. However, the attempt to change American English in a deliberate manner was not merely a goal set by linguists.




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