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Linguistic situation in the US now Speakers of American English outnumber all native speakers of English outside the US by about 2 to 1 and those of British English by nearly 4 to 1 About 28 mil people or about 1 in 9, of the inhabitants of the US have a language other that English as their mother tongue. In descending order for numbers of speakers, the main languages of the US are: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Polish, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Is English the Official Language of the USA? English is the national language of the US It is not the official language because it is not legally prescribed as the language of gov. operations
Rapid English Language Aquisition Population, age 5+ Native-born Foreign-born 1980 % 1990 % 210, 247, 555 100. 0 230, 445, 777 100. 0 196, 388 93. 4 210, 940 91. 5 13, 860 6. 6 19, 506 8. 5 5, 340 100. 0 8, 403 100. 0 868 16. 3 1, 010 12. 0 4, 471 83. 7 7, 393 88. 0 2, 198 41. 2 4, 399 52. 4 Recent Immigrants Ten years or less in US Speak only English @ home Speak other language @ home No difficulty with English*
LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT HOME AND ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH 2005 Population 5 years and over 268, 110, 961 English only 80. 6% Language other than English 19. 4% Speak English less than "very well" 8. 6%
Percent of People 5 Years and Over Who Speak a Language Other Than English at Home: 2005
Percent of People 5 Years and Over Who Speak Spanish at Home: 2005
The English-only movement The English-only activism has its roots in 1980’s when 23 states declared English to be their official language In 1996, for the first time, Congress voted on a bill- “The English Language Empowerment Act of 1996“- designating English as the federal government’s sole language of official business. The targets of the English-only movement were linguistic minorities, bilingual educators and Indian tribes
The English-only movement arguments English has been “social glue” in the United States Because of government-sponsored bilingual programs new immigrants are reluctant to learn English Language diversity is dangerous for the whole nation because it leads to ethnic hostility, language conflict and political separatism like in Quebec
The English-only movement “America is made up of individuals. As Woodrow Wilson said, as long as you consider yourself a part of a group, you are still not assimilated into American society, because America, like other nations, is made up of individuals and not made up of groups. ” Toby Roth “Debate on English-only Legislation”. Aug 1996
The English-only movement According to Chicago Tribune, in 1996 there were 91 charge filings on language discrimination, in 2001 that number rose to 441 Such complaints seldom make it to court It is impossible to track how many workers are negatively impacted by these policies
English-Plus Concept LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) is the organization that advocates the “English-Plus Concept” About 175 indigenous languages survive today but only 20 of these are still being learned by children. It “celebrates the cultural and linguistic diversification of America and treats this nation's multiethnic and multilingual communities as national resources”
The English-Plus Movement Arguments Immigrants have much to offer from their diversified languages and cultural backgrounds “Additive bilingualism creates a language competent society“: both limited English proficient individuals and native English speakers will be able to develop fluency in a second language Bilingual students develop a mental agility and flexibility For bilingual students it is easier to study another foreign language
The English-Plus Movement Arguments A study at the University of Miami (1990) Linguistic knowledge among Hispanic families drastically affects family income. Families who spoke: only Spanish had an average income of $ 18, 000; those with only English, $32, 000; and those with Spanish and English, $50, 376.
The History of American English The Colonial Period (1607 -1776), birth of distinctive American English; The National Period (1776 -1898) establishment and consolidation of American English; The International Period (from 1898) AE has influenced other varieties of English and other languages.
The Colonial Period Divergent features leveled inside a single colony. The barrier of the Atlantic began the process of divergence of American from British usage almost immediately. Changes in the motherland were slow to reach the colonies Colonists adapted old uses to new purposes and borrowed from other groups : the Amerindians, the Dutch, the French.
The National Period Linguistically, this period faced two related challenges: the evolution and recognition of a separate standard English for the USA; the extension of that standard over the whole nation as it expanded westward (Noah Webster – Federal English)
The International period The USA extended its overseas interests: an Open Door policy for China; the Panamanian revolution against Colombia, intervention in Latin American affairs, etc. The USA played an increasing role in world politics and economics with a consequent effect on AE usage. Spread of AE and American pop culture throughout the world.
Major Varieties of AE are more determined by region than by any other factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, social class. AE Dialects are treated under four broad geographical headings: the North, the Coastal South, Midland the West.
The Northern Dialects The ND stretches from New England New York westward to Oregon and Washington (North, New York, New England)
Northern pronunciation The most noticeable difference within the region is that New York and New England areas are nonrhotic while the western portion of the North is rhotic. Merger of vowels in “cot” and “cought” [o: ] → [Λ] might be observed in New England “Matter” and “Madder” are often near-homophones in the North.
Rhotic area Non-Rhotic Area
The Southern dialects SD centers on the Atlantic port cities of the states of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, blending westward along the Gulf Coast into Texas. Non. Rhotic
The Southern Dialects This area is characterized by a strong African influence on AE especially on the islands of South Carolina and Georgia where Gullah is spoken.
Southern pronunciation • non-rhotic; • Diphthongs into monophthongs: “hide” [hΛd] is a near rhyme of both “hod” and non-rhotic “hard”[ai > Λ]; • Monophthongs into diphthongs: “loft” [lauft] which results is a near rhyme with “lout” ”[Λ >au]; • Merger of vowels in “pin” and “pen” [ i ] > [ e ];
Southern vocabulary Archaic expressions: “branch”- a brook; “all-overs”- feelings of uneasiness; “hull”the shell of a nut; “kinfolk”- relatives; “Scat!”- Bless you! • • Other languages have contributed to Southern: Amerindian languages: “terrapin” a turtle; the French of Louisiana: “armoire” wardrobe, “bayou” a small river; Spanish influence: “vaquero” cowboy African languages.
North Midland - Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa; South Midland - Kentucky, Tennessee Missouri and Arkansas, West Virginia The Midland Rhotic
Midland pronunciation • Midland is rhotic • The merger of vowels - “tot” and “taught” [O: >Λ] • In the Ohio River valley the vowel of “itch” rhymes with “each” (in both cases [i: ]) [ i >i: ] , so that “fish” and “television” have the sound of the vowel in “meet” [i: ].
The West the West is a source of linguistic innovation It is a coherentdialect region. Rhotic
Western pronunciation The merger of long and short vowels in "don" and "dawn" is universal [o: ] [^]. The vowel in "measure"; "fresh" is pronounced as a diphthong [ei], so such words as "edge" and "age" are homophones [e] [ei] Vowels in "seal" and "sill" are almost identical [i: ] [i].
Western vocabulary • "parking" a band of grass between sidewalk and curb; "chesterfield" a sofa. • Borrowings from Mexican Spanish: “adios” - goodbye”, “bronco” - wild, “hombre” - guy. • Other languages have contributed words: “aloha” - farewell (Hawaiian), “kung fu” (Chinese), “nisei” - a person of Japanese descent born in the US (Japanese).
Car Cow time Cot/ caught [r] [au] [ai] New England [ø] [ε u] [ε i] [۸ ] [e] [i: ]-[i] New city South York [ø ] [ε u] [ε i] [۸ ]-[ o: ] [e] [i: ]-[i] [ø ] [æ u] [â] [۸ ]-[ o: ] [i: ]-[i] South Midland [r] [æ u] [â] [۸ ]-[o : ] [i] North Midland [r] [æ u] [â i] [۸ ]-[o : ] [e] [i] West [r] [ε u] [ε i] [۸ ] [i] rhotic/ nonrhotic North men Seal/sill -[o : ] [e] [i: ]-[i]
Other influences on US dialects The usage of all Americans, regardless of dialect, is influenced by such factors as: ethnic background; gender; age; social class; occupation or profession.
Ethnic varieties in A E Black English or Ebonics or Vernacular English; Hispanic English; Indian English, Jewish English, Pennsylvania Dutch English; The Cajun English of Louisiana and some others.
Black English Pidgin compromise communication system Creole languages Modern Black English
Black English pronunciation non-rhotic; [n] is commonly replaced [ŋ] in –ing – ‘comin’, runnin’; final consonant clusters are reduced: “des” for desk, “tes” for test, [d] takes the place of the initial [ð] “dat day” for that day; “dis house” etc; [f] often replaces [ð ] in “south”; shift of stress in disyllabic words: p`olice, define.
BE Grammar Multiple negation is common: “No way no girl can’t wear no platform shoes to no amusement park”. Inflected forms such as plural, possessive – ed, -s are omitted; Question inversion: “What it is? ” “It” replaces “there”: “It ain’t no food here”. “Been” is used to express long-standing events with remote past: “I been see dat movie”. = I saw that movie long ago. “Come” functions as a semi-auxiliary: “He come tellin me some story” = He told me a lie.
BE Vocabulary The influence of West African languages (“yam” - sweet potato; “tote” – to carry). Significant changes of words are common: “bad” is used to mean “good” and vice versa. Many expressions have “crossed over” into mainstream of colloquial AE: “boom box” – tape recorder; “hip” – someone who is very knowledgeable about popular culture, “dude” as a reference for any male.
Black English Vernacular Non-standard Black to Black BEV of the North Standard BEV of Chicago the South BEV