A Brief History of the
Old English to Modern English
The various dialects spoken by the Germanic
tribes are known as Pre-Old English. The
term England developed later from the tribal
name Angles, possibly because this kingd
There are numerous differences between the phonology of Black American English and
that of other General American. Some examples are given below.
Black American English
1. Reduction of final consonant clusters
Much of what is to be said about the English of the United States also applies to Canada.
However, Canada does have some distinct national characteristics, which will be dealt with
later in the chapter. American English has its beginnings
Robert Garioch, Im Neutral
Last nicht in Scotland Street I met a man
that gruppit my lapel a kinna foreign
cratur he seemed; he tellt me, Theres a war on
atween the Lang-nebs and the Big-heid Clan
I wasna fasht, I took him
Websters dictionary has been considered authoritative in the United States and is
responsible for some of the following spelling differences.
Differences between American and British Spellings
Varieties of English Around the World
Apart from the United States, Canada is the only English-speaking nation in North America.
Pockets of English speakers can be found along the Caribbean coast of Central and South America
(English is the
However, Jamaican English dominates the region. Jamaica was captured by the British in 1655 from
the Spanish. Jamaican Pidgin English was the result of contact between British settlers many from
the west of England, Ireland, and Scotland by way of Barbado
Ngg wa Thiongo, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Culture (Kenya,
We African writers are bound by our calling to do for our languages what Spenser, Milton and
Shakespeare did for English; what Pushkin and Tolstoy did for Rus
Features of New Zealand English
1. Non-rhotic, except in southern areas with heavy Scottish settlement.
2. /w/ and /hw/ are commonly distinguished.
3. Raising of / and / to / and /e/ respectively. / is increasingly pronounced /\/.
4. Before /l/ contrasts
English in Africa
A Sample of Cameroonian Pidgin
Di fos tok fo di gud nuus fo Jesus Christ God yi Pikin. I bi sem as i di tok fo di buk fo Isaiah,
The first talk of the good news of Jesus Christ God s Son. He be seem as he the talk of the book of Isaiah,
distinct and help us understand the difference between lice and rice. However, [l] and [r] are not distinct
phonemes in many Asian languages, which is why speakers of those languages often have trouble
distinguishing the two words when speaking English. L
Some languages have other categories, but only the ones above are the only ones that occur in English.
Individual consonants can be made up of nearly any combination of the features above. For instance, [b]
is a voiced labial stop and /s/ is a voiceless a
be vocalic, it is best to simply insert a dummy vowel into your transcription. The best choice is to use
the schwa (/\/). Hence the word golden would be transcribed /gold\n/.
Words of more than one syllable have differing degrees of stress on
Note that many students incorrectly try to transcribe the sound in high with /. The symbol / indicates
the monophthongal sound in bitter /bt\r/, and the symbol /ai/ indicates the diphthong in biter /bait\r/.
The pronunciation of diphthongs varies a good d
Chapter 9. English beyond England
During the Middle Ages, English was spoken in parts of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
However, the main history of English outside of England begins after 1500. From about
this time in the other countries of the British Is
The Complaynt of Scotland (circa 1549)
The solist ande attentiue laubirs that I tuke to vrit thir passagis befor rehersit, gart al my body
becum imbecile ande verye, ande my spreit becum sopit in sadnes, throucht the lang
conteneuatione of studie, qu
Old English (500-1066 AD)
West Germanic invaders from
Jutland and southern
Saxons, and Jutes began to
settle in the British Isles in
the fifth and sixth centuries
AD. They spoke a mutually
intelligible language that is
called Old Englis
The Norman Conquest and
the Development of
Middle English (11001500)
William the Conqueror invaded and
conquered England and the AngloSaxons in 1066 AD.
Norman Influences: Latin
Prior to the Norman Conquest, Latin had
been only a minor influence on the
Influence of Old English
The majority of words in modern English
come from foreign, not Old English roots.
Only about one sixth of the known Old
English words have descendants surviving
today. But this is deceptive; Old English is
much more important than
The Canterbury Tales
Here bygynneth the Book
of the tales of Caunterbury
Here begins the Book of the
Whan that aprill with his
The droghte of march
hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne
Of which vertu engendred
Shakespeare wrote in
Elizabethan English has
much more in common
with our language today
than it does with the
language of Chaucer. Many
familiar words and phrases
were coined or first
recorded by Shakespeare.
Some 2,000 words
Middle English: 1100-1500
It was not until the14th century300
years laterthat English became
dominant in Britain again. In 1399, King
Henry IV became the first king of England
since the Norman Conquest whose
mother tongue was English. By the end of
Early Modern English
The Middle English period came to a
close around 1500 AD with the rise of
Early Modern English (15001800)
The Renaissance brought the revival of
classical scholarship and brought many
classical Latin and Greek words
The Great Vowel Shift
The Great Vowel Shift was a change in
pronunciation that began around 1400 and
separates Middle English from Modern English.
In linguistic terms, the shift was rather sudden,
the major changes occurring within a century.
The shift is
The Influence of the Printing
The last major factor in the
development of Modern
English was the advent of the
William Caxton brought the
printing press to England in
1476. Books became cheaper
and literacy more common.
English in Australia and New Zealand
James Dixon, Narrative of a Voyage to New South Wales and Van Diemans Land in the Ship
Skelton During the Year 1820 (1822)
The children born in these colonies, and now grown up, speak a better language, purer, more
The History of Early Modern Britain from 1485-1603
Kings of England
Henry VII (1485-1509)
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Edward VI (1147-1553)
Mary I Bloody Mary (1553-1558)
Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
James VI of Scotland (1567-1625) and I of
Each of the words below has regional variants of pronunciation that distinguish the major
American dialects. Refer to Baugh and Cable 250 to fill in as much of the chart as
possible with the relevant phonetic transcriptions, leaving blank the pro
Many words in the contemporary English of Britain and elsewhere in the world are of
Some American Words Adopted in Britain and Elsewhere
advocate, antagonize, backtrack, blizzard, bonanza, bootleg, cocktail, commuter, godfather, ice
Phonetics and Phonology
Humans have a complex system of using sounds to produce language. The study of linguistic sounds is
called Phonetics. Phonology is the study of systems of sounds, often the sound system of a particular
There are also many differences in morphology and syntax. Some examples are given
1. Omission of the -s possessive suffix So you got teacher pencil in your pocket.
2. Mines for mine. I am tell my mother dat you trow mines up dere on ne roof.