Download Variety in Contemporary English by W.R. O'Donnell, LORETO Todd PDF

By W.R. O'Donnell, LORETO Todd

During the last 4 centuries, the English language has unfold from its ancestral domestic to each continent and almost each kingdom on this planet. it truly is spoken day-by-day in a few shape via an expected one billion humans. a few use it as a mom tongue, others as a moment international language, yet so much use it as a lingua franca--a medium which allows verbal exchange between those that don't percentage a language. just about all international languages were inspired by way of English and in go back the English language has borrowed phrases from all components of the area. The language has develop into versatile adequate to precise the aspirations and cultures of individuals as some distance aside as London and Lagos and to mirror the altering lifestyles types of audio system from big apple to Papua New Guinea. Such wealthy variety is the subject material of this e-book. Many facets of style in modern English are explored, starting with the contrasts among written and spoken English. the character of dialect is punctiliously tested, as are pidgins and creoles--the so-called "New Englishes." The e-book additionally contains discussions of paralinguistic good points, variety, the language of the media, ads, the school room and literature, together with literature written in English via humans for whom English isn't a mom tongue.

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Extra resources for Variety in Contemporary English

Example text

Thus far we have really been concerned with the question of how English may vary. We must now consider the related question of why; in other words, the identification of those external, non-language factors to which variation appears to respond. In fact we may recognise at least seven such factors: (1) individuality (2) region (3) class (4) participant factors (including role and purpose) (5) topic (6) setting (7) other language activity. Of these, the first three relate to the kind of variation we can call ‘dialect’; the others to variation of ‘style’, which will be discussed in a separate chapter.

Naturally, since they were probably illiterate, evidence concerning the dialect position is wanting; and even later, during the literate period, the evidence is scanty and fragmentary. Nevertheless, where we now find different contemporary terms with clearly regional distribution, and where these modern terms are descended from different Old English terms, then one reasonable inference is that the present distributional difference may reflect a difference which was there in Old English, that is pre-Conquest, times; though of course, not necessarily with exactly the same regional currency.

When the British first arrived in North America, for example, they found there many things for which they had no names. Often they adopted the Indian name: ‘racoon’, ‘skunk’, ‘moose’, ‘canoe’, for example. In other cases they made use of the possibility offered by English for such new formations as ‘mud hen’, ‘garter snake’ and ‘ground hog’. Then, as they came into contact with other European immigrants they occasionally adopted their terms: ‘bayou’ ‘levee’, ‘prairie’, from French, for example; ‘pretzel’, from Gerrnan; ‘cookie’ and ‘stoop’ from Dutch; and ‘burro’, ‘corral’, ‘mesa’ ‘bronco’ and many others from Spanish.

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