Territorial varieties of English pronunciation (43014)

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MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION

OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN

GULISTAN STATE UNIVERSITY









«Territorial Varieties of English Pronunciation»

















Gulistan 2008


1. Functional stylistics and dialectology


The problem of the work is concerned with varieties of English in different regions of Britain and various countries of the world. It is quite clear of course that dialectology is inseparably connected with sociolinguistics, the latter deals with language variation caused by social difference and differing social needs; it studies the ways language interacts with social reality.

We propose now a definition of this field of science: Sociolinguistics is the branch of linguistics which studies different aspects of language – phonetics, lexic and grammar with reference to their social functions in the society. The aim is to explain language phenomena in connection with factors outside the language faculty itself in terms of large-scale social structure and in terms of how people use language to communicate with one another.

Though in the past fifteen years Sociolinguistics has come of age and is a fast expanding and increasingly popular subject it should be fair to mention here that language has always been viewed as a social phenomenon, the most important means of human intercourse. So it is evident that language is indissolubly linked with the society; in it we can see a faithful reflection of the society in which people live.

It is quite clear, of course, that such fields of science as linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics are inseparably linked in the treatment of various language structures. For example, the subject matter of ethnolinguistics gradually merges into that of anthropological linguistics and that into sociological linguistics and that into stylistics, and the subject matter of social psychology.

Some scholars consider functional stylistics to be a branch of Sociolinguistics since it studies the distinctive linguistic characteristics of smaller social groupings (such as those due to occupational class, age and sex differences) (38, 68).

In the case of English there exists a great diversity in the spoken realization of the language and particularly in terms of pronunciation. The varieties of the language are conditioned by language communities ranging from small groups to nations. Now speaking about the nations we refer to the national variants of the language. In then – treatment we follow the conception of A.D. Shweitzer. According to him national language is a historical category evolving from conditions of economic and political concentration which characterizes the formation of a nation. In other words national language is the language of a nation, the standard of its form, the language of a nation's literature.

It is common knowledge that language exists in two forms: written and spoken. Any manifestation of language by means of speech is the result of a highly complicated series of events. The literary spoken form has its national pronunciation standard. A «standard» may be defined as «a socially accepted variety of a language established by a codified norm of correctness».

Today all the English-speaking nations have their own national variants of pronunciation and each of them has peculiar features that distinguish it from other varieties of English.

It is generally accepted that for the «English English» it is «Received Pronunciation» or RP; for «The American English» – «General American pronunciation»; for the Australian English – «Educated Australian» (we shall speak about it in detail later in the book).

Standard national pronunciation is sometimes called an «orthoepic norm». Some phoneticians, however, prefer the term «literary pronunciation».

Though every national variant of English has considerable differences in pronunciation, lexic and grammar, they all have much in common which gives us ground to speak of one and the same language – the English language.

It would not be true to say that national standards are fixed and immutable. They undergo constant changes due to various internal and external factors. Pronunciation, above all, is subject to all kinds of innovations. Therefore the national variants of English differ primarily in sound, stress and intonation. It is well-known that there are countries with more than one national language, the most common case being the existence of two national languages on the same territory. For this Canada will be an example, where two different languages – English and French – form the repertoire of the community. In this case scholars speak about bilingualism in contrast to monolingualism typical of a country with one national language. Here arises the problem of interference, that is «linguistic disturbance which results from two languages (or dialects), coming into contact in a specific situation»1.

It may be well to state that every national variety of the language falls into territorial or regional dialects. Dialects are distinguished from each other by differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. We must make clear that, when we refer to varieties in pronunciation only, we use the word «accent».1 So local accents may have many features of pronunciation in common and consequently are grouped into territorial or area accents. In Britain, for example, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire accents form the group of «Northern accent». We must admit, however, that in most textbooks on phonetics the word «dialect» is still used in reference to the regional pronunciation peculiarities, though in the latest editions both in this country and abroad the difference in terms «dialects and accents» is generally accepted. As we see, those terms should be treated differently when related to different aspects of the language. It is, however, true that there is a great deal of overlap between these terms. For certain geographical, economic, political and cultural reasons one of the dialects becomes the standard language of the nation and its pronunciation or its accent – the received standard pronunciation. This was the case of London dialect, whose accent became the «RP» («Received Pronunciation») of Britain.

It has been estimated that the standard pronunciation of a country is not homogeneous. It changes in relation to other languages, and also to geographical, psychological, social and political influences. In England, for example, we distinguish «conservative, general and advanced RP».

As a result of certain social factors in the post-war period – the growing urbanization, spread of education and the impact of mass media, Standard English is exerting an increasing powerful influence on the regional dialects of Great Britain. Recent surveys of British English dialects have revealed that the pressure of Standard English is so strong that many people are bilingual in a sense that they use an imitation of RP with their teachers and lapse into their native local accent when speaking among themselves. In this occasion the term diglossia should be introduced to denote a state of linguistic duality in which the standard literary form of a language and one of its regional dialects are used by the same individual in different social situations. This phenomenon should not be mixed up with bilingualism that is the command of two different languages. In the case of both diglossia and bilingualism the so-called code-switching takes place. In recent years the effect of these forms of linguistic behavior is studied by sociolinguists and psychologists.

As was stated above, language, and especially its oral aspect varies with respect to the social context in which it is used. The social differentiation of language is closely connected with the social differentiation of society. Nevertheless, linguistic facts cannot be attributed directly to class structure. According to A.D. Shweitzer «the impact of social factors on language is not confined to linguistic reflexes of class structure and should be examined with due regard for the meditating role of all class-derived elements – social groups, strata, occupational, cultural and other groups including primary units (small groups).» (38)

Western sociolinguists such as A.D. Grimshaw, JF.Z. Fisher, B. Bernstein, M. Gregory, S. Carroll, A. Hughes, P. Trud2 gill and others, are oriented towards small groups, viewing them as «microcosms» of the entire society. Soviet sociolinguists recognize the influence of society upon language by means of both micro – and macro-sociological factors.

Every language community, ranging from a small group to a nation has its own social dialect, and consequently, its own social accent.

British sociolinguists divide the society into the following classes: upper class, upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, upper working class, middle working class, lower working class.

The validity of this classification is being debated in sociolinguistics. The problem of social stratification and of group theory has only recently been tackled by the science of sociology. The serious study of social dialects must be proceeded*, or at least accompanied by significant advances in sociology and especially in the more precise definition of the notions, such as class, nation, nationality, society, language community, occupation, social group, social setting, occupational group, and so on.

It is well worth to understand that classes are split into different major and minor social groups (professional, educational, cultural, age, sex and so on). Correspondingly every social community has its own social dialect and social accent. DA. Shakhbagova defines social dialects as 'Varieties spoken by a socially limited number of people.»


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ref-16521.doc
101721.rtf
23704-1.rtf
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diplom.doc




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