LANGUAGE CHANGE AND VARIATION IN ENGLISH (Chapter 1, pp. 21-62) MAIN TOPICS • Concepts of change and variation: how and why • Attitudes to language: standard and non-standard varieties • The main phases in the history of English • Causes of the spread of English in the world • Present-day English: from English to “Englishes” • English as a global language: advantages and disadvantages and future predictions
BRAINSTORMING ON LANGUAGE CHANGE AND VARIATION ( Chapters 1, § 1 and 2) • Do languages change in time? • Why do languages change? • How do languages change? • Why, and how, do languages vary at a given time in history? • What is “the best form” of a language?
Examples of slow and systematic change in English • In pronunciation : the Great Vowel Shift from the 15th to the 17° century (“push chain process”) explains the present discrepancy between spelling and pronunciation • In morphology the gradual reduction of case endings (inflection) in nouns, verbs and adjectives from Old to Modern English • In syntax the gradual fixing of the SVO (Subject+Veb+ Object) word order and the development of modal verbs from main verbs to auxiliaries in Modern English
Examples of ‘sudden’ change in English NEW WORDS YUPPIE, DINKY, NIMBY Since the 1980s YUPPIE( Young Upwardly Mobile Professional People), DINKY (Double Income No Kids), NIMBY ( Not In My Backyard) to refer to different groups of people and their life styles Ms Since the 1970s Ms was suggested to neutralise the distinction between Mrs and Miss in order to avoid “linguistic sexism” BORROWING from other languages, e.g. Words from Italian in classical music ( e.g allegretto, pizzicato) and to refer to typical Italian food (spaghetti, pizza) SEMANTIC CHANGE GAY, MEAT, SUBPRIME From gay (merry/ cheerful) to gay (male homosexual) From meat ( meaning food ) to the present more restricted meaning In 2008 subprime, from adjective into noun to refer to “a subprime loan”
Coexisting variants • Personal pronouns Thou / you e.g Thou shalt not kill (The Bible) You must not kill A search based on The British National Corpus (BNC)says that thou is used 748 times in religious or literary texts and you 668,260 in a variety of contexts • The relative pronouns Who/whom e.g.To whom should I complain? Who/whom should I complain to? According to the BNC who is used 200,998 times and whom is used 12,596
Causes for language change “external”, e.g. historical events, inventions, new ideas, contact with other languages and cultures “internal” e.g. analogy, regularity, reorganisation, hypercorrection
Causes for language variation 1. SOCIAL FACTORS LINKED TO LANGUAGE USERS, such as region, social class or group , education, gender , ethnicity, age e.g. Labov’s analysis of the pronunciation of [r] in New York city after 1945 according to social class and style (pp. 22/23) 2. SOCIAL FACTORS LINKED TO THE CONTEXT OF SITUATION , i.e. topic, relationships between participants and the medium chosen e.g. AVIAN INFLUENZA versus BIRD FLU influenza aviaria versus l’influenza dei polli e.g. SWINE INFLUENZA versus SWINE FLU versus inflenza A [H1N1] influenza suina versus influenza dei maiali e.g. GREETING DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE HI LOVE HELLO TOM GOOD MORNING TOM GOOD MORNING, MR JOHNSON GOOD MORNING, PROFESSOR PRAT GOOD MORNING , JOHNSON GOOD MORNING, SIR/ MADAM GOOD MORNING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
DIFFERENT WAYS OF SAYING THE SAME THING… The lesson is beginning! Can you listen to me, please? Would you mind keeping silent? Listen, please! Be quiet over there Shut up, will you? Attendance is not compulsory!!! (Shut your big mouth)
What is “the best English”? All the varieties of a language are equally acceptable and interesting for a linguist and for its users but in each epoch there is a more socially accepted variety, which is considered the standard variety. A standard is associated to the elites of the time ( monarchy, the parliament, upper classes, intellectuals, educated people, the media or literature writers), and will be gradually elaborated and codified in grammars, dictionaries and style books
From general to expert knowledge SOME CONCEPTS AND TERMS: Synchrony/diachrony, sociolinguistics, social variables (related to users and to the context of situation), historical linguistics, history of the language, comparative linguistics, language family, Indo-European, Germanic family, Romance or Neolatin family
A very important question IS THE STUDY OF THE HISTORY AND VARIETIES OF ENGLISH RELEVANT TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OF ENGLISH?
YES !!! • FOR CULTURAL REASONS • TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT PRESENT-DAY ENGLISH (e.g. the gap between spelling and pronunciation; e.g. the mixed nature of its lexis e.g. “liberty” versus “freedom”; the existence of regular and irregular verbs; the linguistic situation of present-day UK; the varieties of English in the world) • TO REINFORCE PRACTICAL COMPETENCE (e.g. to improve pronunciation and grammatical correctness in a given variety and to expand lexical competence; to be prepared to understand different varieties of English)
1. The Anglo-Saxon period 2. The Norman period 3. Modern period Great Britain and Northern Ireland united under the British crown. New territories explored and stable colonies established in America, Asia and Africa 4. 20th Century : From English to “Englishes” English as a global language 1. OLD ENGLISH, OE (700-1150) 2. MIDDLE ENGLISH , ME ( 1150-1500) 3. MODERN ENGLISH, ModEngl. (1500-1900) 4. PRESENT-DAY ENGLISH (PDE) (to the present) HISTORICAL PERIODS AND LINGUISTIC PHASES
OLD ENGLISH OE (700-1150) (Chapter 1, § 3.1, 3.2)
WAYS OF REFERRING TO IT TODAY: 1. UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND (UK) composed of ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES NORTHERN IRELAND 2.GREAT BRITAIN (GB) / BRITAIN composed of ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES 3. THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND THE STORY OF ENGLISH STARTED IN A SMALL ISLAND…
WHO LIVED IN ENGLAND BEFORE 700 A.D? SOME MYSTERIOUS POPULATIONS (see Stonehenge , 3000 B.C) THE CELTIC AND GAELIC INHABITANTS ( today many areas are bilingual and some geographic names are of Celtic origin , e.g. London, Leeds, Kent, Cornwall, Thames ) THE ROMANS INVADED THE ISLAND AT THE TIME OF CAESAR ( 50 B.C. ) AND ABANDONED IT IN THE 5th CENTURY A.D.)
Major historical events and monuments before and during the OE period 5th century A.D: some Germanic tribes (Anglo-Saxons and Jutes) arrived in England and forced the Celts to move west and north • Since the 6th century: the Christianisation of Britain took place ( e.g. substitution of the Runic alphabet with the Latin alphabet) see. P.29 • In the 8th century: the Scandinavian Vikings tried to invade part of Britain and in the 9th century King Alfred, king of the West-Saxon reign, defeated them. West-Saxon was considered the first written English standard • 1066 The Anglo- Normans invaded Britain
AN EXAMPLE FROM OE(Ælfric’s Colloquy, c. 998) OE: We cildra biddaþþe , eala lareow, þæt þu tæce us [...]. We cildra þe biddaþ, eala lareow, þæt þu tæce us [...]. We cildra þe biddaþ, eala lareow, þæt tæce þu us [...] • PDE: We children bid you, master, that you teach us [...].
FEATURES OF OLD ENGLISH • LATIN ALPHABET, WITH SOME DIFFERENCES FROM PDE (e.g. the consonant Thorn, or þorn, Þ, þ) • NOUNS, ADJECTIVES AND PRONOUNS WERE INFLECTED FOR CASE ( nominative, genitive, dative, accusative) ,NUMBER ( singular and plural) AND GENDER ( masculine, feminine, neuter). Personal pronouns have retained case, number and gender also in Present-day English • THE DEMONSTRATIVES WERE USED BOTH FOR THE DEFINITE ARTICLES AND FOR DEMONSTRATIVES • TWO TYPES OF VERBS (STRONG AND WEAK) = IRREGULAR AND REGULAR VERBS IN PDE. “To be” is the most irregular verb • WORD ORDER WAS FREE • LEXIS WAS MAINLY GERMANIC BUT INCLUDED WORDS OF CELTIC (names of places, e.g. London) , LATIN (e.g. scholfromschola) AND SCANDINAVIAN ORIGIN (e.g. landesmann = native in PDE)
SYNTHETIC VERSUS ANALYTHIC LANGUAGE: English from synthetic to analytic language • Synthetic languages express grammatical and syntactic categories (mainly) through CASES ( OR INFLECTION) • Analytic languages express grammatical and syntactic relations (mainly) through WORD ORDER and GRAMMATICAL WORDS such as prepositions and auxiliaries.
MIDDLE ENGLISH, ME (1066 or 1150-1500) • (Chapter 1, § 3.2)
MAJOR EVENTS IN THE MIDDLE ENGLISH PERIOD 1066 The Normans invaded England and went into power. They spoke French (or Anglo-Norman) while Latin was the language of the Church and education, and Anglo-Saxon English was still the language of the majority of the population. Gaelic was spoken in Scotland 1204 The Normans lost their power in favour of English kings 1215 The Magna Charta Libertatum (in Latin) The most authoritative example of written literary English: The Canterbury Tales by G. Chaucer (14th century) 1476 Introduction of the printing press in England by William Caxton
From Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales 1 Thanne were ther yonge povre scolers two, PDE: Then there were two young poor scholars, 2 That dwelten in this halle, of which I seye. PDE: Who dwelt (lived) in this hall, of which I say.
FEATURES OF MIDDLE ENGLISH • Reduction of the case system in particular in nouns and adjectives because of the disappearance of vowels in unstressed final syllables • Development of the future with shall/will,the present progressive and the passive • Increasingly fixed word order, with some variation • French (e.g. “marry”, “government”) and Latin (e.g. “psalm” “inferior”) influence on vocabulary • Development of a standard form of English around the city of London
MODERN ENGLISH (c. 1500-c.1900) Chapter 1, § 3.3.
Major historical/cultural events in the Modern English period 1. BRITAIN BECAME A UNITED AND POWERFUL COUNTRY ( but with only 7 million inhabitants!) • Separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church • Queen Elisabeth I established the power of Britain on the seas • Great flourishing of the theatre and literature (Shakespeare, The Authorized Translation of the Bible) • The English Civil War over the power of the Parliament versus the power of the Monarchy • In 1702 England and Scotland were united under the British Crown 2. BRITAIN BECAME A COLONIAL WORLD POWER • Since the I7th century English trading companies in India and slave trade in Africa • Since the 17th century stable colonies were established in America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The Caribbean and South Africa • 19th century colonial empire in Asia and Africa
A quotation from Love’s Labour Lost by Shakespeare I praise God for you sir, your reasons at dinner haue beene sharpe and sententious: pleasant without scurrillity, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresie…
From HAMLET by Shakespeare To be, or not to be: that is the question:Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more; and by a sleep to say we endThe heart-ache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;For in that sleep of death what dreams may come…
TRANSLATION BY A. LOMBARDO • Essere o non essere – questa è la domanda. • Se è più nobile per la mente sopportare • Le sassate e le frecce dell’oltraggiosa fortuna • O prendere le armi contro un mare di guai • E, combattendo, finirli. Morire, dormire – • Nient’altro – e con un sonno dire che poniamo • Fine al male del cuore e ai mille • Travagli maturali di cui la carne è erede. • Questa è consumazione da desiderare devotamente. • Morire, dormire – dormire, forse sognare. • Ah, qui è l’intoppo. Perché in quel sonno • Di morte quali sogni possono venire
From the Genesis • 15: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. … 21: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25: And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
(Late) Modern English (1500-1900) • Simplification of inflection (only ‘s genitive and –s plural in nouns, the comparative and superlative endings in adjectives) with the exception of pronouns, which have retained inflection • Tendency to fixed word order • Debate between Neologisers (in favour of words of foreign origin) and Purists (in favour of native word formation processes) • Development of a standard form of English through long processes of selection (London English) and codification through grammars and dictionaries • Development of a standard accent in Britain: The Received Pronunciation (RP) • Development of the so-called colonial standard varieties of English, e.g. American English, Australian English, New Zealand English • Development of Pidgins and Creoles, which were the result of the contact between English and local languages and functioned as the lingua franca for trade and commerce, e.g. in West Africa
Old English (700-1100 c.) ● fully inflected ● free word order ● mainly Germanic vocabulary Middle English (1100-1500) ● reduced inflection ● increasingly fixed word order ● French and Latin influence on vocabulary Modern English (1500-1900) ● very reduced inflection ● greater use of fixed word order ● codification of language Present-day English (1900-nowdays) ● very reduced inflection and fixed word order ● formation of new native and non-native varieties worldwide ● English as a global lingua franca The four main periods of English: a summary
THE ENGLISH “DIASPORA” 1ST STAGE: The expansion of English within the British Isles with the reduction of Gaelic languages to minority languages in Scotland, Wales and Ireland 2ND STAGE: The colonial empire and the birth of colonial varieties of English and Pidgin and Creoles 3RD STAGE: the spread of English as a global lingua franca
Present-day English (1900-nowdays) Chapter 1, §4.1-4.10
RED = where English is the first and often only language of most people DARK PINK = where English as a native language but there is at least one other significant native tonguePINK = countries where English is not the native, but only the official language
MAIN POLITICAL AND CULTURAL EVENTS • English is the official – or main- language of many important countries in the world (e.g. UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand). • English has been retained as the official language (along with other native languages) in more than 70 former British colonies after their political independence (e.g. in India, and several African countries). • English has acquired growing importance worldwide in science, technology, international organisations and business.
The reasons for the present predominance of English in the world: a summary External reasons: the colonial and industrial power of Great Britain in the 18th and 19h centuries; the political, economic and technological power of the USA in the 20th century; the number of speakers; the geographical spread; the cultural heritage and/or Internal reasons: morphological simplicity, structural clarity, size and mixed nature of its vocabulary, flexibility in creating new words, adaptability to distant contexts.
The present situation of English in the world 1. Native varieties of English (ENL or L1), such as American English, British English, Australian English, Canadian English, New Zealand English, but also regional varieties such Northern English, Southern American 2 Varieties of English as a Second Language (ESL or L2), used intranationally in former British colonies in the institutional, media and educational fields ( e.g. Indian English, Nigerian English, South-African English, Singapore English, Hong Hong English) • English as a Foreign language (EFL), English as a lingua franca (ELF), English for Special Purposes (ESP), Business English, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), Airspeak, Policespeak… • Within each variety there is a continuum from an educated standard (acrolect) to a very limited form of communication (basilect)
Katchru’s Three Circle Model: Non-native speakers of English have outnumbered native speakers
Who owns English today? “…the English language ceased to be the sole possession of the English some time ago” (Salman Rushdie, 1991)