[lg policy] terminology question

Julia deBres juliadebres at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 6 06:42:57 UTC 2010


Thanks very much for taking the time to explain Anthea, that's super interesting - I will mull it over...

Julia



________________________________
From: Anthea Fraser Gupta <A.F.Gupta at leeds.ac.uk>
To: Language Policy List <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Sent: Thu, 6 May, 2010 4:09:18 AM
Subject: RE: [lg policy] terminology question

Many thanks to everyone who responded to my question. It does look as if using it in the sense that my correspond was (to mean a variety of Standard English other than American Standard English) is not unusual. My first meaning, like some other people's, was more or less what Jenkins calls ELF (English as a Lingual Franca, in the EU).

@Julia....

I do not regard there as being standard accents of English, and my concept of Standard English relates to grammar, lexis, and spelling. There is huge accent variation in English. The concept of a standard is considerably weaker in speech than in writing, not only because of accent variation, but also because the grammar of speech is distinct from the more conscious grammar of writing. Even so, the criterial features of Standard English (especially in the area of the verb) are the same in writing as in speech.

In NZ (as in USA, Singapore, UK, Ireland, India, etc.,) within Standard English (edited texts, printed, taught in schools, etc.)  there are a small number of words particularly associated with local institutions or just what Goerlach calls heteronyms ( different words for the same thing, such as flip-flops, slippers, jandals, thongs, chappals.....). There are also some spelling variants, many of which characterise the so-called US/British division (colo(u)r, theatre/er....). There are one or two strong verbs that show variation (dived/dove, got(ten)). These differences account for much less that 0.05% of the words of texts other those specifically written to highlight the differences. Core grammar (I have developed a criterially based analysis that tends has a focus on the structure and morphology of the verb) is shared. When you examine a large corpus, you find (given matched text types) statistically different preferences (for example, UK and
 Australian English are fonder !
than US English of the perfective): preferences cannot be used to define a dialect -- only categorical features can.  And the categorical differences that there are are too few to warrant the identification of a different dialect.

If we take your postings and mine -- what is there to mark my English as British and yours as New Zealand? Little if anything.

Notions of local standards were developed (including by me) as part of an attack on the hegemony of the UK and US, and played an important role in developing ownership. But I think we have gone past that stage now, and need to move on to concepts that see English as one language across the world. We also need to develop linguistic, rather than geo-historical criteria for distinguishing one variety of English from another.

If you want the longer argument, have a look on my website at some of my recent papers on this topic. What do you think?

Anthea

*     *     *     *     *
Anthea Fraser Gupta (Dr)
School of English, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
<www.leeds.ac.uk/english/staff/afg<http://www.leeds.ac.uk/english/staff/afg>>
*     *     *     *     *

________________________________
From: lgpolicy-list-bounces+a.f.gupta=leeds.ac.uk at groups.sas.upenn.edu [lgpolicy-list-bounces+a.f.gupta=leeds.ac.uk at groups.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Julia deBres [juliadebres at yahoo.com]
Sent: 05 May 2010 17:16
To: Language Policy List
Subject: Re: [lg policy] terminology question

Hi Anthea

I'm interested in your point of view that there is 'one Standard English and that regional differences are tiny and rarely worth mentioning'.

As a New Zealander, I feel pretty strongly that Standard New Zealand English is quite different from, for example, Standard British English or Standard American English.

This is due to a range of features I'm sure you're aware of like distinctive vowels ('bear' and 'beer' can sound pretty much the same), vocabulary (e.g. Maori words), intonation (the HRT), all sorts of things.  Some features of New Zealand English are shared by other varieties, but some aren't (e.g. the Maori content), and even those features that are shared are present in a unique combination in New Zealand English, not found elsewhere in the world.

Of course this varies between speakers, and a really 'strong' New Zealand accent might not be recognised as standard English, but I think increasingly these features are viewed as part of a specifically New Zealand standard.  In the old days, newsreaders in New Zealand used to speak like Britons, and there was a big change some decades ago towards it being OK to read the news in a particularly New Zealand variety.  To me, that variety is a now a distinct 'standard New Zealand English'.

I'd be interested if you could explain to me in a sentence or two what the basis is for your view that there's only really one standard English (this is not a challenge, I am quite simply interested!).

Julia

________________________________
From: Harold Schiffman <haroldfs at gmail.com>
To: Language Policy List <lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu>
Sent: Wed, 5 May, 2010 5:44:43 PM
Subject: Re: [lg policy] terminology question

Dear Anthea,

I've never heard the term 'European English" although if I had, I
would consider it somewhat
derogatory.  I have heard the term "transatlantic English" but think
of it more as something
from the media, i.e. an "accent" that sounds British to Americans and
American to Brits.

Hal

On Wed, May 5, 2010 at 3:43 AM, Anthea Fraser Gupta
<A.F.Gupta at leeds.ac.uk<mailto:A.F.Gupta at leeds.ac.uk>> wrote:
> I have a question, especially for people in the US.  A speech-language professor in the US contacted me with questions related to Singapore, and used a term that baffled me: "European English". I didn't know if it was regional (how????) or racial (why???) and simply couldn't interpret it. When I asked him what he meant by the term he explained that he "was referring to the English used in the schools in Singapore. Perhaps I should have refered to it as standard European English. Here in the U.S. we have standard American English. My use of European English is more specific than just the general term standard English."
>
> Have you ever come across this term, apparently being used where other people would use 'British Standard English'? Is its meaning clear to people in the US? I find it odd and rather offensive.....
>
> [My regular readers will know that I reckon there is ONE Standard English and that categorical regional differences are tiny and rarely worth mentioning.]
>
> Anthea
> *     *     *     *     *
> Anthea Fraser Gupta (Dr)
> School of English, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
> <www.leeds.ac.uk/english/staff/afg>
> *     *     *     *     *
> _______________________________________________
> This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
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--
=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com<mailto:haroldfs at gmail.com>
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

-------------------------------------------------

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