language and variation

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LANGUAGE AND VARIATION

TYPES OF VARIATION AND PERSPECTIVES

-          Synchronic variation: variation of a language at a particular moment

-          Diachronic variation: variation considering development and evolution

-          Descriptivism: the evolution of English is evidence of a broadening world view

-          Perscriptivism: there is a correct form of English, evolution of language shows it is being simplified

EARLY MODERN ENGLISH (1450-1700)

-          1476: Caxton introduced the printing press to England

-          1530s: Henry VIII reformation of Church means that links to Catholic Europe are severed

-          1600s: Medical progression with Francis Bacon and royal society founded in 1662

-          1604: First English dictionary is published but it is non standardised

-          1611: King James Bible is published

-          1623: Shakespeare’s First Folio is produced

-          Orthography:

o    Preferred texts printed in one paragraph because they thought it looked more sophisticated

o    Language still in early stages but becoming standardised in terms of spelling

o    Many affixations

o    Extra ‘e’ after words

o    Many neologisms added to language deriving from Latin and Greek, higher prestige

AMERICAN ENGLISH

-          200 million speakers

-          There is no American equivalent of RP, so it doesn’t have same social class associations

-          It is sometimes viewed as the ‘dumbest’ form of English

-          Has a big influence in society-

o    1935: 30-40 Americanisms said a day

o    2017: 300-400 Americanisms said a day

AFRICAN AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH (AAVE)

-          Drop ‘t’ and ‘r’ sounds

-          ‘be’ denotes regular action- ‘he be here every day’

AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH

-          Distinctive from British English in terms of the lexis used

-          Main differences are phonological and lexical; Australian has more idioms and add ‘e’ to words

ESTUARY ENGLISH

-          Comparable to cockney but closer to RP- think Jamie Oliver

-           ‘l’ sound substituted for ‘w’

-          Broad A

-          Glottal stop

MULTICULTURAL LONDON ENGLISH (MLE)

-          Sociolect, spoken by working class

-          Speakers come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, so it can be regarded as a multiethnolect

-          Lexis is somewhat influential due to social media, so some phrases become popular in entire of England, e.g ‘bare’ and ‘ting’, however many of the idioms are only known amongst speakers

LEXICAL CHANGE

-          Remember *****:

o    Travel: colonialization introduced English abroad, so English absorbed

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