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Postcolonial English. Varieties around the World

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Abstract

The global spread of English has resulted in the emergence of a diverse range of postcolonial varieties around the world. Postcolonial English provides a clear and original account of the evolution of these varieties, exploring the historical, social and ecological factors that have shaped all levels of their structure. It argues that while these Englishes have developed new and unique properties which differ greatly from one location to another, their spread and diversification can in fact be explained by a single underlying process, which builds upon the constant relationships and communication needs of the colonizers, the colonized, and other parties. Outlining the stages and characteristics of this process, it applies them in detail to English in sixteen different countries across all continents as well as, in a separate chapter, to a history of American English. Of key interest to sociolinguists, dialectologists, historical linguists and syntacticians alike, this 2007 book provides a fascinating new picture of the growth and evolution of English around the globe.

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... In this chapter, our aims are to explore the role of prescriptivism with regard to the 18 English language in the Nordic countries. Our specific focus is on the use of English in 19 institutions of higher education (HEIs). ...
... Due to their proximity 16 and similar cultural beliefs, the Nordic countries have also forged a regional partnership to 17 enhance Nordic cooperation. 18 For cooperation purposes, including the Nordic Council and Nordic Council of 19 Ministers (inter-governmental and -parliamentary cooperation), the Scandinavian 20 languages of Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are to be used, although the practicability 21 and fairness of this has been questioned and, in practice, cross-Nordic communication 22 often takes place in English (Kristinsson & Hilmarsson-Dunn, 2012). In fact, English is 23 extensively learned and used within the Nordic countries, including as a lingua franca 24 among Nordic people in certain contexts. ...
... 16 17 3. Higher Education the Nordic Countries 18 The Nordic countries have a similar approach to higher education, in that it is based upon 19 a commitment to welfare, particularly in providing equal access to education. For this 20 reason, higher education has traditionally been public and tuition-free. ...
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5 This chapter explores the use of explicit language policies and regulations in higher 6 education settings where English is used as a foreign language. In particular, the chapter 7 presents a case study of the Nordic countries of Europe, which, in today's Europe, are 8 considered some of the settings where English users have overall high proficiency in 9
... Also, the multicultural diversity of the outer and expanding circles allows for multiple varieties of English with cultures that are quite evident in the proper adjectives used in identifying them. 1 The distinctive features of each variety make it phonologically, morphologically, syntactically, semantically and pragmatically different not only from native varieties, but also from other non-native varieties. Schneider (2007), however, proposes a dynamic model in which he argues that even with the unique features of the respective Englishes, their spread and diversities could be understood from a single underlying process "which builds upon the constant relationships and communication needs of the colonizers, the colonized, and other parties". He, like so many others (e.g., Kachru, 1985;McArthur, 1987;Golarch, 1990;Modiano, 1999;Crystal, 2003), however, argues from the logic of the obvious multiple variations 2 of the English language. ...
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... As an additional point of emphasis, Harrison (2008) emphasizes the intensity of the loss caused by language extinction; "when languages die, an immense edifice of human knowledge are painstakingly constructed over millennia by innumerable minds, are disintegrating, and eventually fading into oblivion" (Harrison, 2008, p. 3). Schneider (2007) says that, however, biologists construct taxonomies based on the genealogical or structural characteristics of animals and plants, these taxonomies frequently do not include any information about the interrelationships of interdependencies between living forms, or other natural environments that coexist in the same geographic area. This information contributes to the popular misconception that when a species of life goes extinct,it impacts not only that species but also every other species in the system, especially those species with interrelationships. ...
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... For example, Moroccan researchers with linguistic and applied linguistic backgrounds have been interested in issues related to phonology and morphology (Boudlal, 2001), multilingualism (Ennaji, 2005(Ennaji, , 2009Soussi, 2020), language attitudes (Bouziane, 2020), the spread of English in Morocco (Kachoub, and language planning & policy (Ben Hammou & Kesbi, 2021a, 2021b) and communicative language teaching (El karfa, 2014, 2019), to mention only a few. However, despite this extensive body of literature, we argue that a critical stance on the study of the English language must be taken, specifically in relation to issues such as linguistic imperialism, coloniality and interculturality (Al-Kadi, 2022; Baratta, 2019;Canagarajah, 2006;Mourchid, 2019;Pennycook, 2017;R'boul, 2020a, 2020b, 2020cSchneider, 2007). ...
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... Indian English is an established variety of English spoken by millions of speakers in India. The English language came to India with the British people in the seventeenth century (Schneider, 2007;Sharma, 2017). Indian English is taught as a second language and used as the medium of instruction in the education system. ...
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Corpus Linguistics has revolutionised the world of language study and is an essential component of work in Applied Linguistics. This book, now in its second edition, provides a thorough introduction to all the key research issues in Corpus Linguistics, from the point of view of Applied Linguistics. The field has progressed a great deal since the first edition, so this edition has been completely rewritten to reflect these advances, whilst still maintaining the emphasis on hands-on corpus research of the first edition. It includes chapters on qualitative and quantitative research, applications in language teaching, discourse studies, and beyond. It also includes an extensive discussion of the place of Corpus Linguistics in linguistic theory, and provides numerous detailed examples of corpus studies throughout. Providing an accessible but thorough grounding to the fascinating, fast-moving field of Corpus Linguistics, this book is essential reading for the student and the researcher alike.
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This study adopts an onomasiological, alternation-based approach to the exploration of grammatical variation across World Englishes, using data sourced from the 1.9 billion-word Global Web-based English corpus. The macro-orientation of the study, which investigates a set of ten alternations known to be susceptible to diachronic change, facilitates identification of a number of general trends, including the typical advancement of the Inner Circle varieties and of the South-East Asian varieties, the hypercentrality of American English, and the epicentrality of Indian English in South Asia. Possible explanatory factors include colloquialisation, grammatical simplicity/complexity, developmental status, and areal proximity.
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Since the emergence of varieties of English, varying debates and discussions about their formal features, functions, and roles have persisted worldwide. This quantitative survey research aims to identify the attitudes of Nepali speakers of English towards Nepali English (NE) and other varieties of English. Using the survey questionnaire, the researcher collected primary data through online and face-to-face modes from one hundred participants sampled randomly, out of which fifty participants were the English language teachers from different schools and community campuses and fifty participants were Master level students, including those students pursuing their Master level thesis from a community campus of Morang district. The participants’ attitudes were analyzed and interpreted in terms of intelligibility, nature of standard, identity, practicality, and acceptance. The study showed that most participants were positive towards NE and most of them responded that they can better understand English spoken by NE speakers than British English (BE) or American English (AE) native speakers. However, majority of them were not against BE or AE in terms of intelligibility, nature of standard, and practicality though they supported NE more.
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How may the structure of a new linguistic community shape language emergence and change? The 1817 founding of the U.S.'s first school for the deaf, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in Hartford, Connecticut, heralded profound changes in the lives of deaf North Americans. We report the demographics of the early signing community at ASD through quantitative analyses of the 1700 students who attended the school during its first fifty years. The majority were adolescents, with adults well-represented. Prior to 1845, children under age 8 were absent. We consider two groups of students who may have made important linguistic contributions to this early signing community: students with deaf relatives and students from Martha's Vineyard. We conclude that adolescents played a crucial role in forming the New England signing community. Young children may have pushed the emergence of ASL, but likely did so at home in deaf families, not at ASD.
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This chapter traces the expansion of English from its beginnings to its present-day global role. Viewed from a geographical perspective, settlement moves and colonization have re-rooted the English language to different continents and countries, producing distinct contact types. We outline these developments from their historical and demographic perspectives as well as with respect to linguistic contact conditions for North America (including African American English), Southern Hemisphere varieties (Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa), and second-language postcolonial Englishes in Africa and Asia. In addition, it is shown how recent, vibrant processes have established new forms of English in new contexts, including non-postcolonial countries, lingua franca uses, and in cyberspace, thus producing radically new contact ecologies. Contact scenarios in these processes have involved dialect contact between native speakers from different regions, the process of structural nativization based on local feature pools, various degrees of restructuring and creole formation, and the genesis of hybrid varieties and innovative multilingual settings. We outline theoretical approaches to grasp these processes, including the Dynamic Model of the evolution of postcolonial Englishes, the Extra- and Intra-territorial Forces Model, and the postulate of different types of “nativeness.”
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Attitudes towards spoken, signed, and written language are of significant interest to researchers in sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, communication studies, and social psychology. This is the first interdisciplinary guide to traditional and cutting-edge methods for the investigation of language attitudes. Written by experts in the field, it provides an introduction to attitude theory, helps readers choose an appropriate method, and guides through research planning and design, data collection, and analysis. The chapters include step-by-step instructions to illustrate and facilitate the use of the different methods as well as case studies from a wide range of linguistic contexts. The book also goes beyond individual methods, offering guidance on how to research attitudes in multilingual communities and in signing communities, based on historical data, with the help of priming, and by means of mixed-methods approaches.
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is likewise used for those thatdeveloped in trade colonies of the same European nations, where contactsbetween Europeans and non-Europeans were originally sporadic. Those in-clined to invoke pidgin or creole (PC) prototypes – to which I return below –are likely to identify them within this group, as did McWhorter (1998). Re-gardless of disagreements we may have about what counts, or does not count,as a PC, we certainly have fewer disagreements about this restricted set, onwhich I base my discussion below.
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After showing that standardisation processes in spoken and written usage in Jamaica must be seen as distinct from each other, the paper focuses on the role of the creole substrate in the formation of the emergent written standard in Jamaica. The approach is corpus-based, using material from the Caribbean component of the International Corpus of English and, occasionally, from other digitised text data-bases. Jamaican Creole lexicon and grammar are shown to exert an influence on written English usage, but, generally speaking, direct borrowing of words and rules is much rarer than various forms of indirect and mediated influence, and the over-all impact of the creole is as yet limited. While probably no longer a typical English-speaking society (cf. Shields-Brodber 1997), Jamaica will continue to be an English-using one.
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This study sought to provide evidence for the existence of specific grammatical features which one could definitely say are characteristic of Kenyan English. Using a questionnaire, it gauged the extent of acceptability of twenty-six features by between 75 and 188 respondents. The twenty-six features appeared in sentences that would be considered as deviant in standard international English, and informants were instructed to correct errors in them. The sample of respondents was drawn, over a two-year period, from eight classes of students specializing in either linguistics or communication at the University of Nairobi. The target features covered “grammar“ in its widest sense: from punctuation marks and spelling to morphological, syntactic and lexical aspects. The results showed that fourteen (i.e. 54%) of the twenty-six structures scored acceptability ratings of at least 60%. These could be argued to be indeed characteristic of at least written Kenyan English. But, with acceptability ratings for some other structures being as low as only two and eighteen percent, the results equally suggest that some apparently very common features of Kenyan English would only be accepted in spoken, rather than written language.
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This paper undertakes the investigation of the disposition to stress of Nigerian users of English and the nature of spoken Nigerian English rhythm. The subjects of the study were sixty Nigerians of varied socio-economic, educational and ethno-linguistic backgrounds and a native (British) English speaker, whose productions from reading a passage and speaking freely for three minutes on a common topic were analysed metrically, acoustically and statistically, using a modified version of the Metrical Theory, the Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Signed Ranks Test and the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). In spite of earlier classifications, the study assumes the existence of three varieties of spoken Nigerian English characterized by their disposition to stress and speech rhythm: the “Non-Standard“, the “Standard“ and the “Sophisticated“ varieties, which are individually different but collectively similar yet different from Standard British English, represented by the control's performance. The existence of the three varieties is confirmed by the data. The common performance features include a tendency to stress more syllables in words than the native speaker. This feature, which is traceable to the influence of the syllable-timing rhythm of the subjects' mother tongues, tends to characterize the Nigerian accent of English; but whereas the Non-Standard Variety conforms to the syllable-timing description the Standard and Sophisticated Varieties require further investigation.
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In the past, the vowels of Singapore English (SgE) have often been described with reference to British English (BrE). However, certain idiosyncratic patterns are now emerging, and these often cannot be predicted by referring to any other varieties of English. The vowels in words such as egg, beg, poor, pure, won, one and the first syllable of absorb and abroad are investigated from the data of 38 speakers, and it is shown that a new standard of SgE pronunciation is emerging for the great majority of speakers.
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English as spoken as a second language in India (IE) has developed different sound patterns from other varieties of English. While most descriptions of IE have focused on the English of speakers whose first languages belong to the Indo-Aryan or Dravidian families, in this study, I examine the phonetic and phonological characteristics of the English produced by speakers of three Indian L1s from the Tibeto-Burman language family (Angami, Ao, and Mizo). In addition to describing aspects of Tibeto-Burman Indian English, a previously unreported Indian English variety, I also examine how and why this variety of English differs from General Indian English. The English of Tibeto-Burman L1 speakers seems to form a variety distinct from Indian English, most noticeably in terms of the lack of retroflexion of coronal consonants, the devoicing of word-final obstruents, the simplification of consonant clusters, the presence of post-vocalic [p], and the reduced set of vowel contrasts. Most of these can be traced to transfer from the L1 phonology, with the coda devoicing and cluster reductions reflecting simplification in terms of markedness, following developmental sequences found in second language acquisition.
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Where English has two or more alternative complementation patterns for the same verb, their relative frequencies might vary among national varieties. This article investigates the relative frequencies of various complementation patterns among nine verbs whose complementation may differ between British and Indian English: provide, furnish, supply, entrust and presentþ; pelt, shower, pepper, and bombard. A method was devised to use on-line Indian and British newspaper archives as a source of more examples than could be obtained from corpora. The results showed consistent differences between varieties. The construction “NP1-V-NP3-NP2“ (he provided them money), though not common, was more likely to occur in Indian than in British newspaper English. The construction “NP1-V-NP3-with-NP2“ (he provided them with money) was considerably more common for most verbs in British English than in Indian, relative to the alternative “NP1-V-NP2-to/for/at-NP3“ (he provided money to them), illustrating the systematic nature of structural nativisation.
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This article reports on patterns of adverbial usage in a 550 000-word corpus of informal spoken English collected from mother tongue (MT) Xhosa speakers for whom English is a second language. The focus is on the subset of intensifiers which accompany gradable adverbs and adjectives that allow comparison and modification (e.g. rather hard) and the benchmark used for comparison with so-called natural MT English usage is the spoken component of the International Corpus of New Zealand English (Holmes 1995; 1996). Results reveal that patterns of usage vary enormously between Xhosa English (XhE) and New Zealand English (NZE). Not only do they vary in overall frequency of use in all categories, with XhE speakers using fewer intensifiers, but the XhE speakers also draw from a smaller lexical range, which suggests a process of lexical focusing. Other characteristic patterns of intensifier usage include differences in adverbial placement as well as formulaic phrasing.
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FIJI belongs to Braj Kachru's 'outer circle' ofEnglish-speaking nations. Although English isone of the three major languages spoken in Fiji(alongside Fijian and Fiji Hindi), it is the firstlanguage of only a tiny portion of the popula-tion (± 3%). Nevertheless, it plays a pivotalrole in the day-to-day lives of most, if not all,Fiji Islanders. English is the principal languageof government, administration, the judicial sys-tem, and commerce, the major, and sometimesthe only, medium of instruction in the educa-tion system, and an important, though by nomeans the only, lingua franca among peoplewith different first languages. English is alsothe dominant language o thfe media.The structure, development and nativisationof the lexis of Fiji English is much the same asthat of any other variety of post-colonialEnglish. What mainly sets it apart from allother varieties of English is the rich and colour-ful amalgam of Fijian and Hindi expressions.Hindi lexical items found their way into FijiEnglish (as well as Fijian) after the introduc-tion of large numbers of Indian indenturedlabourers between 1879 and 1916.Issues in Fiji English lexicographyThis ensuing discussion evolved out of the dif-ficulties I encountered whilst cataloguing andanalysing the corpus of Fiji English lexemesand expressions I collected during my sevenyear residence in Fiji. The corpus was compiledfrom numerous written and oral sources.These include: stories, articles, letters, andadvertisements in the local print media; uni-versity students' essays, assignments, andexamination scripts; hand-written and printednotices and signs; locally published plays andnovels; samples from conversations which Ieither overheard or personally participated in;recorded interviews and conversations; andtelevision and radio news broadcasts, com-mentaries, advertisements, and communityannouncements.The lexis of Fiji English embodies much ofthe same type of lexical material attested in anyother post-colonial English. It comprises:indigenous loans (i.e. Fijian, Hindi, and Poly-nesian); loans from other varieties of English(e.g. Indian, Australian, American and BritishEnglish); caiques (mainly from Fijian); rebor-rowings (i.e. mainly words borrowed fromEnglish into Fijian, where they becamenativised and underwent semantic shift, afterwhich they were re-introduced into the localEnglish); hybrids (i.e. English + Fijian or Hindilexical collocations and compounds); standardEnglish lexemes that have undergone locallymotivated semantic shifts; grammatical con-versions; novel compounds of existing stan-dard English lexemes, English archaisms, neol-ogisms; and locally coined exclamations,interjections and directives.The following discussion outlines the mostfundamental lexicographical problems andissues I encountered in compiling and cate-gorising my corpus of Fiji Englishisms.
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This article presents a model which argues that a fundamentally uniform developmental process, shaped by consistent historical, sociolinguistic and language-contact conditions, has operated in the emergence of New Englishes, and it applies this framework to a discussion of the evolution and some present-day features and usage characteristics of Malaysian English. The Dynamic Model of the evolution of New Englishes, which builds upon the mutual identity definitions by the parties involved in a colonization process and describes five consecutive phases of evolution, is sketched briefly. It is shown that the early history of English in Malaysia, from the establishment of the colony of Penang to independence, conforms nicely to the generalizations made for the first two phases, called “foundation” and “exonormative stabilization” and marked by gradually expanding elite bilingualism and slight linguistic transfer. Malaysia’s nationalist language policy of the 1960s and after impeded the further expansion and development of English in the country; nevertheless, it is shown that Malaysian English has progressed deeply into the third phase of “nativization”, being widely used in the country in various domains and employed as a carrier of a local identity having developed distinctive features of its own. Recent redirections of educational policy have given new weight and impetus to English in Malaysia in a complex sociolinguistic setting.
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Principles of Evolutionary Phonology are applied to a selection of sound changes and stable sound patterns in varieties of English. These are divided into two types: natural phonetically motivated internal changes and all others, which are classified as unnatural. While natural phonetically motivated sound change may be inhibited by external forces, certain phonotactic patterns show notable stability in English and are only eliminated under particular types of contact with languages lacking the same patterns. Within the evolutionary model, this stability is expected since natural sound changes involving wholesale elimination of these patterns are not known.
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The argument put forward in this paper is that in a multilingual and multicultural society such as Singapore, the ability to code-switch is an important tool for the child in the learning process. Every conversational interaction between child and caregiver or peer not only reveals to the child information about the structure and uses of language but also is essential in developing the growing cognitive skills. The theoretical backdrop used in this study is that of a systemic functional approach to language within the framework of conversational analysis. Such an approach stresses language as "choice" in the developing language network of the child. It is argued that strategies for learning are most usefully seen as ways of mobilizing the language resources available into coherent discourse in order to participate effectively within the community.
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L'A. examine un certain nombre de changements linguistiques en cours, dans une region ou le dialecte standard de l'anglais canadien est en contact etroit avec l'anglais americain. Parmi ces changements se trouvent le remplacement lexical de chesterfield par couch et de serviette par napkin, la prononciation de leisure ou [i:] remplace [e], l'abandon du yod dans news et student, la perte du WH dans which et whine, et le remplacement morphologique de dived par dove et de sneaked par snuck. La cause de ces changements est, d'une maniere conventionnelle, attribuee a l'americanisation. L'A. montre ici, en considerant l'histoire et la complexite de ces changements, que ce point de vue est trop simpliste
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This papers investigates the representation of the variability characteristics of the post-creole continuum of Jamaica in literature, and it discusses theoretical ramifications concerning the nature of an author's 'pan-lectal' competence. Based upon Thelwell's novel The Harder They Come and set against the background of theoretical statements on literary dialect, the origin of the novel, and the Jamaican culture which it represents, the variability of literary dialect is investigated by two complementary types of approaches: a quantitative sociolinguistic analysis of three phonological and 13 morphological variables of Jamaican Creole as represented in the speech of 14 fictive characters, and a qualitative documentation of the style-shifting employed by some of these characters. The results show that Thelwell's literary representation of the Jamaican speech continuum is remarkably accurate and in line with the findings of fieldwork-based sociolinguistic studies. A wide range of variation between basilect and acrolect is convincingly represented in the novel, with the characters' idiolects correlating with their socioeconomic status and with situational parameters.
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The paper provides a qualitative real-time study of ancestral language transfer in the English spoken on the Quinault Indian Nation reservation in WA, USA, in the late 1960s and nowadays. The 1960s data come from archival recordings of mainly one bilingual elder, while the recent samples were recorded in 2004. Only the former exhibit some evident phonological and morpho-syntactic transfer. The present-day speech conforms to informal General American patterns, except for one new variable, the glottal replacement of voiceless stops. The latter is not attested in the archival material and is argued to involve an innovation. A similar phenomenon has been reported in several other American Indian English (AIE) varieties. This may imply that a shared AIE substratum is developing, based on non-standard English features rather than on specific ancestral language transfer features. Leap's (1993) assertion that no general AIE variety is on the rise may be worth re-examination.
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The presence of words of Maori origin in contemporary New Zealand English is regularly commented upon both by linguists and in the popular press. Such commentary is, however, generally based on intuition and observation rather than empirical analysis. This paper begins with a review of published comment from the late nineteenth century to the present on the Maori presence in the New Zealand English lexicon, and then introduces a corpus-based study of that presence from 1850 to 2000. The corpus produced was the largest yet assembled for the study of New Zealand English. Findings confirmed diachronic changes in the number of Maori word tokens and types used, in the nature of Maori words used, and claims that Maori loanwords have entered New Zealand English in two distinct waves. Reasons for these changes include demographic shifts, revitalisation of the Maori language, political and social changes, and changes in attitudes among English-speakers.
Article
Britain's 150 year colonial administration of Hong Kong came to an end in June 1997 when the territory reverted to Chinese sovereignty. Because the fate of languages is closely related to the power of different groups in a society, this constitutional transition raises important issues of language and identity. At present English continues to play an important role in business and administration while Cantonese is the lingua franca of a highly cohesive and independent community. However, the extent to which the colonial language is a component of the Territory's identity, and the prospect of it retaining an influential role, remains to be seen. Reunification is likely to have a considerable impact on language attitudes and use with Putonghua, the official language of mainland China, emerging to challenge English and Cantonese as a high status language in public domains. This paper builds on previous studies by Pierson et al. (1980) and Pennington & Yue (1994) to examine the changing language attitudes brought about by the handover. A questionnaire was administered to 900 Hong Kong undergraduates to discover students' perspectives on language and cultural identity, social, affective and instrumental attitudes and general predictions for language use with a view towards the political transition.
Article
A new survey of variation and change in Canadian English, called Dialect Topography, has been extended from Southern Ontario, where it was conceived and originally implemented, to Montreal. In the tradition of earlier questionnaires investigating Canadian English, the new data contribute to our knowledge of Canadian English at several levels of structure, including phonology, morpho-syntax, and lexicon. In this paper, the Montreal data are compared to those from the Toronto region and to earlier studies of Quebec English, in order to examine differences between the varieties of English spoken in Canada's two largest cities from a diachronic perspective. Contrary to the conclusion of an earlier study, variables involving a contrast between British and American forms show similar frequencies in both cities. The data on these variables also show the frequency of American forms in Montreal speech to be increasing over time. Another set of variables displays wide discrepancies between the two regions. Some of the differences are explained in terms of settlement history and language contact; others are not so easily explained and are presented as a challenge for future research.
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The paper argues that Cameroon Pidgin, a simplified language that displayed a unique peculiarity in the yesteryears, is now giving up most of its phonological peculiarities and embracing those of the variety of English spoken in Cameroon. An analysis of the speech of 150 educated Cameroon Pidgin speakers, randomly selected, shows that such phonological processes as heavy infiltration of sounds from indigenous Cameroonian languages, rampant consonant cluster simplification through vowel epenthesis and other segmental peculiarities which characterized Cameroon Pidgin by 1960, as depicted in Schneider (1960), are by far less perceivable in current Cameroon Pidgin usage. It is demonstrated that the feeling that Pidgin is an inferior language has caused Cameroon Pidgin speakers to opt for the “modernization“ of the language using English language canons, instead of preserving the state of the language as it was in the yesteryears. It is therefore predicted that Cameroon Pidgin and Cameroon English will sooner or later be in a continuum.
Article
Looking up `creolization' on any data base, or doing a search at amazon.com or simply googling the term will show that it is more widely used outside linguistics than inside - especially in anthropology, sociology, history and literary studies. Jourdan (2001: 2903) notes that the term has been borrowed from linguistics where one of its definitions is the creation of a new language out of contact between at least two different languages. Creolization in the sociocultural context usually refers to the creation of new aspects of culture as a result of contact between different cultures. In this column, I present some background information on what I'll call `sociocultural creolization' and its links with linguistic creolization. Then I describe what I see as some of the differences between the sociocultural and linguistic approaches. I conclude with implications of these differences for the field of creolistics.
Article
This study looks into the use of English in Southern British Cameroons, a territory where English was introduced some 500 years ago by British privateers. The data are a collection of answers to a questionnaire devised to check the respondents’ use of English in various domains such as the home, neighbourhood, place of work and others. The findings reveal that English, a co-official language of the country, is gradually entering the home environment, where the indigenous languages are expected to dominate; it is the language of instruction in primary and secondary schools, and of religion and the court as pastors and lawyers consistently use it in their respective trades; in short it is the means of expression of educated people, the elite of the land. However, English finds itself in a situation of competition with other languages in this territory. At a lower level, it has to compete with Pidgin English, a contact language which dominates the neighbourhood domain. At a higher level, it competes with French, the other official language, which is dominant in tertiary level education, in the media (where most newspapers as well as most foreign radio and cable television programmes are in it), in public places (where respondents report overhearing talks and reading notices in tongues other than English), and in the civil service (where most official correspondences are initiated in it). In short what seems to have been taking place in the country since Reunification with French Cameroon in 1961 is a one-way bilingualism, with speakers of English being made to fully operate in French.
Article
This paper offers a unified account of the syntactic “deviations” found in a second language variety of English, viz. Black South African English (BlSAfE). Most writing on the topic has been content to supply lists of non-standard features which are thought to be diagnostic of the variety. This paper aims to characterise the syntax of the variety via its recurrent properties, rather than as a superset of unrelated features. In this regard I use the cover term “anti-deletion” for three relatable properties: (a) restoring a feature that tends to be deleted in modern standard English, e.g. the infinitive marker to in She made me to go ; (b) retaining, rather than deleting elements that are known to be deleted in some (non-standard) varieties of English, e.g. retention rather than deletion of the copula; and (c) inserting additional grammatical morphemes into the standard English structure, e.g. cross-clausal double conjunctions like although… but . The concept of an anti-deletion allows one to characterise one of the two systems that underlie BlSAfE, the other being the standard syntax of the Target Language (TL). More generally, the notion of “anti-deletion” can be used fruitfully in characterising the syntax of individual second language varieties of English on a continuum.
Article
This paper describes and analyses the phenomenon of consonant cluster simplification in the English of two native Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong. We show that this process is systematic in that it targets the alveolar plosives and removes them when they are members of a coda consonant cluster in spite of the fact that the details of the simplification may vary from subject to subject. We compare this process to a seemingly similar cluster simplification in native varieties of English and show that they differ in two key respects. Our study provides evidence of a systematic morphophonemic alternation in the English of L1 Cantonese speakers, confirming the observation in a number of sociolinguistic studies that this process is a linguistic feature of the English of L1 Cantonese speakers.
Article
In this paper, we examine one wh-construction in Singapore English, which signals a demand for justification, and show that there is a systematic correlation between its structural and pragmatic properties. We suggest that this wh-construction is based on the imperative, and inherits the structural properties associated with the relatively more polite version of the imperative. In Singapore English, this is the version that makes explicit mention of the second person subject, whereas in Standard English the use of you in the imperative decreases politeness. After a careful comparison of the pragmatics of the imperative in Standard English, Singapore English and Chinese, we conclude that the asymmetry between the why-construction in Standard English and in Singapore English can be accounted for by substrate influence from Chinese, from which the Singaporean construction has inherited its politeness constraints.
Article
Serious studies on English pronunciation in Africa, which are only beginning, have so far highlighted the regional and sociolinguistic distribution of some features on the continent. The present paper revisits some aspects of these studies and presents a sort of pronunciation atlas on the basis of some selected features. But more importantly, the paper examines how these features are formed. It considers, but goes beyond, the over-used theory of mother-tongue interference, and analyses a wide range of other factors: colonial input, shared historical experience, movement of populations, colonial and post-colonial opening to other continents, the psychological factor, speakers' attitudes towards the various models of pronunciation in their community, etc. For example, the Krio connection accounts for some striking similarities between Nigerian, Sierra Leonean and Gambian Englishes despite the wide geographical distance between them. The positive perception of their accent, which they judge superior to the other West African accents, has, in the past three decades, shaped the English pronunciation of Ghanaians in a particular way. The northward movements of populations have disseminated to East Africa some typically Southern African features. Links between Southern and East Africa, and Asia, are reflected in the presence of some Asian features in East and Southern African Englishes. The paper shows how African accents of English result from the interaction between the influence of indigenous languages and Africans' exposure to several colonial and post-colonial Englishes.
Article
A list of vocabulary items peculiar to English in Ghana has been compiled over the last ten years. Included are items that have appeared in print at least three times within eight years. Most items were tested on Ghanaians of varying ages, ethnic backgrounds and levels of education to ascertain familiarity and usage. The paper is based on the above data. It classifies the entries according to (1) origin: English, local, hybrid; and (2) semantic and formal subcategorisations, i.e. (i) which semantic and formal processes the English items have undergone, (ii) from which semantic domains the local items are drawn and (iii) by which processes the hybrids were created.
Article
  The British ICE corpus (ICE-GB) shows that now normally functions as either time adjunct or conjunct in Standard English, and never as subjunct. The South African ICE corpus (ICE-SA) shows that South African English (SAE) generally conforms to Standard English (StdE) usage, but that a significant minority of instances in colloquial registers show now functioning as subjunct, specifically as emphasizer. These instances conform more or less closely to one or other of two prototypical syntactic patterns, one of which has a clear parallel in Afrikaans and can reasonably be derived directly from Afrikaans. The other, however, is not closely paralleled in Afrikaans, and it appears to be an indigenous SAE development which takes advantage of the potential for emphasis offered by emphasizer now. It appears, therefore, that while it is Afrikaans in origin, emphasizer now has been nativized in SAE.