Language Diversity Edexcel Unit 3

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Key dates


1450 - Great vowel shift began

1476 - Caxton printing press came to England

1485 - the Renaissance


1526 - Tyndale's english bible

1660 - Royal society formed


1704 - Newton wrote in English

1755 - Johnsons dictionary

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Middle English


  • Semantic fields and origins of words, lots of borrowings of words from latin, french and german
  • Change in word meaning, register drift (worse) amelioration (better)


  • cw for qu - cween
  • o for oo - fod
  • s/z interchangable
  • terminal e
  • Runic symbol (thorn) Þ
  • i/y interchangeable


  • Use of inflections
  • syntax placement
  • plural inflections
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Early Modern English

Historical Context

  • Caxtons prining press 1476
  • Renaissance 1500
  • Mulcaster's Elementarie 1582
  • Tyndale's bible printed 1526


  • u/v interchangable - v for intial, u for medial. U was seen in the old English as the lower case V
  • Terminal -e - Pronouciation, magic e not consistantly established, may reflect earlier inflections, typographical reasons


  • Y as th - rune thorn letter, looked more like a y. Caxton had no thorn so used y and then th
  • Long S - not used for terminals, overlapping on print and confused with f.
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Early Modern English 2


  • Third person singular inflection 'eth' - simplification to s. Shakespere used both eth and s
  • Second person singular inflection 'est' - simplification to become archaic


  • Archaic 2nd person pronouns - thou (singular informal subject) thee (singular informal object) ye (plural or formal subject) you (plural or formal object)
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Modern English

Historical Context

  • Johnsons Dictionary 1755
  • Lowth's English Grammar 1799
  • Websters American Dictionary 1828
  • Education compulsary up to 12 1870

Process of standardisation due to dictionary and grammar books. The progression between early modern and current standard English

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American English

Historical Context

  • 1620 - Pilgrim fathers land on America
  • 1633-1732 - More immigrants arrive from all over Europe
  • 1783 - Webster Blue back speller; changes the way many English words are spelt

Wild Wild West

  • Phonetic pronouciation
  • Idomatic and figurative expressions
  • Dialoge to represent spoken voice
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African American Vernacular English

Pidgin - A simplified language that develops as a means of communication between people that do not share a language

Creole - a stable language that orginated from a pidgin language that has been nativised (Acrolect is closest. Basilect is most remote)

Decreolisation - The concept of loosing conventional language features due to the pollution of other languages


  • Loss of distinction between /i/ and /e/ e.g pin pen
  • Loss of distinction between th unvoiced and /f/ and between th voiced /th/ and /v/ or /d/ interdental and labiodental sounds


  • Ellision and contraction eg. he gonna be mad, he cryin'
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African American Vernacular English 2


  • Negation; Double negative and negative constructions - He don't know nothing
  • Ommision of auxiliary verbs eg. he happy
  • Verb to be indicates a regular or continuous action eg. he be dancing
  • Deletion of the copula verb eg. that 'feels' nice
  • 3rd person singular uninflected for person eg. he walk to school
  • Nouns uninflected for possession eg. his sister doctor
  • Syntax in questions reversed eg. who that is?
  • Simplification of pronouns
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Australian English


  • Many convicts came from london so strong cockney influence
  • Slang used
  • Vivid idioms
  • Informalisation
  • Frequent use of taboo (amelioration)


  • Reversal of politeness features
  • tmesis - inserting a word inside another eg. kanga-freaking-roo


  • Indistingishble /ai/ /ei/ eg. main and mine
  • additional schwa sound before nasal phonemes
  • Heavy use of HRT
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English as a second language

South Asian English (indian)


  • stress timed so all syllables are said in equal time
  • lack of difference between /v/ and /w/
  • voiced dental fricative replaced with d
  • Voiceless dental fricative replaced with t


  • use of plural on non countable nouns eg. litters
  • Prepositions vary to standard eg. pay attention on
  • Use of the continuous verb eg. i am understanding it
  • use of agreement eg. the man didnt go to the shop // yes
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World Language theory


  • Inner circle - norm providing (uk, usa, australia)
  • Outer Circle - norm developing (india, creoles)
  • Expanding circle - norm dependant (English as a second language)

Schnieder - post colonial English

  • exonormative stabilisation (seperate social group)
  • nativisation
  • endonormative stabilisaion (political independence, language is a variety in its own right)
  • differentiation (social and regional dialects)
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Future of English as a lingua franca

English as a lingua franca (ELF)

  • Crystal - bidialectalism (know local language but be able to speak a world language
  • 89% of european school kids learn English

Future of English (Crystal)


  • Each country has own English
  • Corrupted by local language
  • adapts itself to local context


  • world standard emerging through globalisation (technology)
  • number of different languages reducing
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