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Standard Language & Language Standards World Englishes Lesson 4.

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Presentation on theme: "Standard Language & Language Standards World Englishes Lesson 4."— Presentation transcript:

1 Standard Language & Language Standards World Englishes Lesson 4

2 Definition 1 What is Standard Language?

3 Standardisation in Mother Tongue Englishes Standard language  Term used for that variety of a language which is considered to be the norm.  Prestige variety: spoken by a minority of those occupying positions of power within a society  Yardstick against which other varieties of the language are measured  Held up as optimum for educational purposes

4 Definition 2 What are Language Standards?

5 Standard language and language standards Language standards - Prescriptive language rules which constitute the standard to which all members of a language community are exposed and urged to conform during education. - Reverse side of the standard language coin. - Because natural languages are dynamic, these rules are subject to change over time. - During earlier and transitional stages, language change is regarded as error by promoters of standard language ideology.

6 Standard language and language standards ‘[…] standard languages are the result of a direct and deliberate intervention by society’ (Hudson 1996: 32)  Four stages of this process of intervention 1 Selection 2 Codification 3 Elaboration of function 4 Acceptance

7 Definition 3 What is Standard English?

8 1. The dialect of educated people throughout the British Isles. It is the dialect normally used in writing, for teaching in schools and universities, and heard on radio and television. (Hughes and Trudgill 1979, repeated in the 2nd ed., 1996) 2. The variety of the English language which is normally employed in writing and normally spoken by ‘educated’ speakers of the language. It is also, of course, the variety of the language that students of English as a Foreign or Second Language (EFL/ESL) are taught when receiving formal instruction. The term Standard English refers to grammar and vocabulary (dialect) but not to pronunciation (accent). (Trudgill and Hannah 1982, and repeated in the 4th ed., 2002)

9 What is Standard English? 3. Standard English can be characterized by saying that it is that set of grammatical and lexical forms which is typically used in speech and writing by educated native speakers. It … includes the use of colloquial and slang vocabulary as well as swear- words and taboo expressions. (Trudgill 1984) 4. (The term) ‘Standard English’ is potentially misleading for at least two reasons. First, in order to be self-explanatory, it really ought to be called ‘the grammar and the core vocabulary of educated usage in English’. That would make plain the fact that it is not the whole of English, and above all, it is not pronunciation that can in any way be labelled ‘Standard’, but only one part of English: its grammar and vocabulary. (Strevens 1985)

10 What is Standard English? 5. Since the 1980s, the notion of ‘standard’ has come to the fore in public debate about the English language … We may define the Standard English of an English-speaking country as a minority variety (identified chiefly by its vocabulary, grammar and orthography) which carries most prestige and is most widely understood. (Crystal 1995, repeated in the 2nd ed., 2003) 6. Traditionally the medium of the upper and (especially professional) middle class, and by and large of education […] Although not limited to one accent (most notably in recent decades), it has been associated since at least the 19th century with the accent that, since the 1920s, has been called Received Pronunciation (RP), and with the phrases the Queen’s English, the King’s English, Oxford English, and BBC English. (McArthur 2002) A5

11 Standard English: What it isn’t It is not a language: it is only one variety of a given English. It is not an accent: in Britain it is spoken by 12 – 15% of the population, of whom 9 – 12% speak it with a regional accent. It is not a style: it can be spoken in formal, neutral and informal styles, respectively. It is not a register: given that a register is largely a matter of lexis in relation to subject matter (e.g. the register of medicine, of cricket, or of knitting), there is no necessary connection between register and Standard English It is not a set of prescriptive rules: it can tolerate certain features which, because many of their rules are grounded in Latin, prescriptive grammarians do not allow. (cf. Trudgill 1999)

12 Standard English A dialect That differs from other dialects in that it has greater prestige That does not have an associated accent That does not form part of a geographical continuum. It is a purely social dialect. (Trudgill 1999)

13 Non-standard Englishes Non-standard native English varieties “Regional dialects” of Inner Circle countries considered inferior and generally “incorrect” Standard Australian English belonged to this category until recently (1970s) Lack of acceptance often influenced by race in the US and class in the UK These regional dialects of English are often lumped together with Outer Circle Englishes

14 Non-standard Englishes New Englishes: standard and non-standard varieties  Implicit belief that New Englishes are result of fossilisation Outer Circle Englishes which have undergone standardisation processes and codified their own standard (e.g. Standard Singapore English or Standard Indian English) are nevertheless considered non-standard Speakers of standard Outer Circle Englishes often regard their standard as second-best to the standard Englishes of the Inner Circle

15 Standards of the Inner Circle Three ‘standard’ Englishes: Britain, North America and Australia  similarities and differences - across the three standards - across varieties of English within Britain and North America

16 Vocabulary = most noticeable level of divergence NAmE and BrE Words either not existing in one of the two varieties or having completely/partially different meaning Early settlers introduced new words via – Extending meaning of existing English words (e.g. corn, robin) – Creating new words (e.g. butte) – Borrowing from indigenous languages (e.g. moccasin, squash, toboggan) Developments since independence of US – technological innovation (e.g. NAmE: windshield, hood, trunk vs. BrE: windscreen, bonnet, boot)

17 Categories of lexical differences in EngEng and USEng Trudgill and Hannah 2002: Same word, different meaning Same word, additional meaning in one variety Same word, difference in style, connotation, frequency of use Same concept or item, different word

18 Choose the correct category faucet - smart - sophomore - autumn - pants homely - school - quite - a queue - to fancy pavement - regular - corn Which category has the greatest potential for misunderstanding between speakers of English from the UK and from the US?

19 Lexical differences 2 British vs American slang British vs American slang Words and expressions that can cause embarrassing or comical misunderstandings: to knock up – fag – rubber – to root for – to get pissed – fanny – bum – buns – queen – thong tramp – hamper – mean – suspenders – Asian

20 Australian English Borrowings from aboriginal languages ( e.g. kangaroo, boomerang ) some now widely known; especially for fauna and flora; now regarded as quintessentially Australian Words with different meanings (to barrack for = support – paddock = field – footpath = pavement) Different slang words and phrases (a galah = a fool – to spit the dummy = to lose your temper – splosh = money) Many abbreviations, clippings (barbecue = barbie – afternoon = arvo – Australian = Aussie)

21 Slang across the three standards When suprised, they say: Bloody OATH! – No way! /Shut the front door! – Bloody Hell! When angry, they say: Sod that! – Bugger! – God damn it! When showing approval, they say: Sweet! – Cool! – Bargain! Amazed: Gob smacked – Blown away – Far out Pleased: Stoked – Rapt – Chuffed Friend: Mate – Sport – Buddy Boy: Guy/Dude – Bloke/Lad – Bloke Girl: Sheila – Chick/Gal – Bird/Lass Toilet: John/Can – Dunny – Loo Tired: Knackered – Bushed – Beat Idiot: Dumbass – Git – Drongo

22 Differences in grammar and spelling EngEng and USEng (Trudgill and Hannah 2002) Verbs: morphology (dived/dove – got/gotten), auxiliaries (epistemic must = can’t/must not) Nouns: noun endings (candidature/candidacy – centenary/centennial), using verbs as nouns (an invalid/a shut in – an audition/ a try out) Adjectives and adverbs (different from/different than – yet and already with simple past in USEng) Prepositions (behind/in back of – in a street/on a street – for ages/in ages) Spelling: Words ending in -or (American) -our (British) color, colour, humor, humour, flavor, flavour etc. Words ending in -ize (American) -ise (British) recognize, recognise, patronize, patronise etc.

23 Problems with differences Can you think of any other differences? Do any of these differences have the same potential for miscommunication as lexical differences do? Have you had any personal experience of miscommunication arising from grammatical differences in your own and an interlocutor’s English?

24 Spot the standard Scotland Yard police are looking for a famous American bank robber called Dirty Dan. Dirty Dan robbed a bank in London last Friday night. They are interviewing three different people. All three have British accents, but the police know that Dirty Dan can imitate a British accent. Read parts of each of the transcript. Can you identify Dirty Dan from the language he uses? Suspect 1 I already said this. I didn’t do anything special on the weekend. Friday night I took a shower in my apartment and then went out to see a movie. It was a movie I had already seen, Matrix Revolutions. I really like action movies. I went with my girlfriend Samantha. Suspect 2 I wasn’t in town at the weekend, and I certainly wasn’t anywhere near the bank on Friday night. I was at a hotel in Paris with a special friend of mine. Shall I give you the hotel phone number? You needn’t bother asking me any more questions. You’ve got the wrong man. Suspect 3 I’ve already said this. On Friday night I went to see a film at the cinema. It was Matrix Revolutions. I don’t really like action films, but my friends really wanted to see it. It was rather boring. After that I went home and had a nice hot bath. I went to bed around midnight.


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