Video appunto: English in the world

American English

Today American English is the most influential English variety in the world, this because US is the most powerful nation on earth and America’s culture has been extended thanks to a quick development of communications.
In the beginning AE was derided by many and there were many prejudices.

In the early phases of settlement there were several languages such as English dialects, European languages, African languages and American languages spoken by indigenous population.
For the language independence one of the most important roles was played by Noah Webster, who wrote the Webster’s Dictionary with the aim to rationalize English and make it more systematic: new spelling, reduction of unnecessary sounds.

Que --> ck
Gue --> g
Mme --> m
Ou --> o
Re --> er
Ce --> se

Another fundamental figure in promoting American English is Mencken, who wrote: The American language, and where in the first edition in 1919 he underlined the divergences from British English.
In 1992, Kahane wrote about the reasons that caused AE to break of from BE:
• A decline in Anglophilia
• The leveling of social dialects
• The integration of foreign elements (influence from languages of African and European immigrants).
Variation in American Englishes  Socio-linguistic factors influencing variation:
• Language contacts
• Metropolizations
• Increasing migration
• Expanding ethnic diversity
Today there are in US 5 main dialect regions:
• The Inland North
• The North Central
• The Midland (the most neutral dialect in the opinion of Americans)
• The West
• The South
the Southern American English is not easy to define, either geographically or culturally, therefore it cannot be considered a single variety.
+ New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, etc…

The AAVE African American Vernacular English

Origin, there are different hypothesis, one of these is that it could be a sort of dialect born from the incorrectly and autonomous learning of English. Another hypothesis is that it developed as a mixture of English an d originally West African languages and it became first pidgin and later creole.
It is characterized by distinctive features on lexical, phonological and grammatical level.
June Jordan’s listed 19 rules as guidelines for the writing of Black English, some of these are:
• Minimal number of words for every idea
• Eliminate the use of the verb “to be” whenever possible
• Eliminate “do”
• Never use the –ed suffix to indicate the past tense of a verb.
• Never use an apostrophe construction
• Never use the suffix –ly form of an adverb
• Never use the indefinite article “an”
Selected grammatical features:
• Absence of copula for present tense
• Use of inviariant “be” for future
• Absence of third person –s
• Use of don’t instead of doesn’t

New Zealand

Tthe last habitable landmass in the world to be colonized.
The language contact in NZ has been an imposition from English to Maori, thus have been some changes from a phonological, grammatical and lexical point of view. But there have been some borrowing in English from Maori, for instance native flora and fauna, place names or cultural concept. New Zealand English origins are not very clear, but one of the hypothesis is that it could be a variation of London Cockney, or a dialect imported from Australia, or that it could be a blend between North English vocabulary and South English pronunciation.
Languages spoken during settlement were: British dialects, Maori, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish and also Chinese.
Some social factors that influenced the development of NZE in the 20th century are:
• Sense of historical relationship & cultural sympathy with Britain (stronger than in Australia)
• Growing sense on national identity (New Zealand is not Australia)
• Importance given to the rights and needs of Maori people.