The penal settlements.
The first settlements were penal colonies and until 1868, when transportation ceased, a vocabulary similar to that in a slave society described the life of the convicts. A major distinction was maintained between bond and free, as in free emigrant, free native, free labourer, free servant, and the distinction between free and freed. The settlements were populated in part by convicts and the attendant military forces, in part by free settlers. Though convicts who had served their sentences or obtained pardons (known from 1822 as emancipists) became free in their own eyes and those of the law, they often had difficulty escaping the stigma of servitude and obtained only a measure of freedom, being known by the exclusives or exclusionists as free convicts or freed men.

Concomitantly, the land was explored and opened up for settlement and the stock-raising industry was developing. Squatters (stock-raisers or graziers occupying large tracts of Crown land under lease or licence) moved inland from the limits of location (the frontier of settlement) into the back country or back of beyond in search of land suitable for runs (tracts of grazing land) or stations (ranches). They looked for open land (free from forest or undergrowth), seeking open forest or open plains, and using words like brush (dense natural vegetation), bush (the distinctive Australian natural vegetation), mallee or mulga (forms of natural vegetation giving their name to their habitat), and scrub (generally, poor vegetation) to describe features of an unfamiliar environment. The stock industry employed overseers or superintendents (both convict terms), stockmen, and rouseabouts (general hands). Drovers travelled stock long distances overland, the original overlanders driving stock from New South Wales to South Australia. The importance of sheep in opening up the country and establishing a frontier society was such that the occupational vocabularies of droving and shearing figure largely in Australian literature.

The goldfields.
Gold was discovered in the 1850s, leading to movement between the Californian, Australian, and New Zealand goldfields. Rushes (first used of the sudden escape of a number of convicts and then of the sudden movement of a number of miners to a particular place or goldfield) followed when a prospector (gold-finder, gold-hunter, gold-seeker) made a find and established a claim. A number of mining terms originated in Australia, but many are shared with other varieties of English, and the importance of the discovery of gold, and of the rushes that followed, lies in the mobility it encouraged and the effect of this on the homogeneity of the accent.

A growing sense of national identity was fostered by involvement in the First World War. The line between formal and informal usage is perhaps less rigidly drawn in Australia than elsewhere, colloquialisms being more generally admissible than in Britain. In informal usage, the suffixes -ie or -y and -o or -oh are freely attached to short base words (roughie a trick, tinnie a can of beer, bottle-oh a bottle merchant, plonko an addict of plonk or cheap wine, smoko a work break) and clippings (Aussie an Australian, arvo an afternoon, barbie a barbecue, Chrissy Christmas, compo workers’ compensation, derro a derelict or down-and-out, reffo a refugee).

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Pidgin Language


Pidgins are “on-the-spot” languages that develop when people with no common language come into contact with each other. Nobody speaks a pidgin as their first language. Usually a pidgin language is a blend of the vocabulary of one major language with the grammar of one or more other languages. The major languages are usually the languages of the former major colonial powers, such as EnglishFrench, and Portuguese. For example, the establishment of plantation economies in the Caribbean, with large groups of slaves from different language backgrounds who came from West Africa, gave rise to a number of pidgins based on EnglishFrenchSpanishDutch, and Portuguese. However, there are also pidgins spoken in parts of Africa, South America, and southeast Asia that are based on languages other than those of the colonial powers. A good example of a non-European pidgin is the Chinook Jargon that was once used by American Indians and European traders in the Pacific Northwest.

The term pidgin has nothing to do with birds. The word, first attested in print in 1850, is thought to be the Chinese mispronunciation of the English word business. There are other theories about the origin of the term.

Because of their limited function, pidgin languages usually do not last very long, rarely more than several decades. They disappear when the reason for communication diminishes, as communities either move apart, one community learns the language of the other, or both communities learn a common language (usually the official language of the country). For instance, Pidgin Russian spoken in Manchuria disappeared when Russian settlers left China after World War II. The same is true of Pidgin French which disappeared from Vietnam after the French left the country. However, this is not always the case. Chinese Pidgin English (Chinglish), developed in the 17th century in Canton (Guandong), China,and survived for almost three centuries. Its use spread from master-servant relationships to those between English and Chinese traders and bureaucrats. It continued in use until about the end of the 19th century, when the Chinese started to switch to standard English.


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Initially, and uniquely, a majority of the British colonies in Australia were penal. As they expanded and as free colonies were developed, immigrants using languages other than English were insignificant. Relations with the Aborigines were generally poor and after an initial intake of words from their languages (such as boomerangdingokangarookoalakookaburrawombat) were not conducive to extensive borrowing. The settlers were almost all Anglo-Celtic and geographical isolation was of great importance. The preoccupations of the colonists were the discovery and exploration of a new land, rich in exotic flora and fauna, and pastoral occupations such as raising sheep and cattle under circumstances vastly different from ‘the Old Country’. In the late 20c, however, Australians are predominantly urban and increasingly multicultural. The major areas of lexical growth are international, as in computing and surfing. In the 19c, the situation was the reverse.


The most marked feature of the Australian accent is its homogeneity, with no regional differences as marked as those in BrE and AmE, though recent studies have associated particular phonological characteristics with state capitals. There is, however, a social continuum in which three varieties are generally recognized: Broad AustralianGeneral Australian, and Cultivated Australian. Of these, Cultivated Australian most closely approaches British RP and Broad Australian most vigorously exhibits distinctive regional features. It is generally assumed that the Australian accent derives from the mixing of British and Irish accents in the early years of settlement. However, although most convicts and other settlers came from London, the Midlands, and Ireland, the influence of the original accents cannot be conclusively quantified. The present spectrum was probably established by the early 19c.

The major features of AusE pronunciation are: (1) It is non-rhotic. (2) Its intonation is flatter than that of RP. (3) Speech rhythms are slow, stress being more evenly spaced than in RP. (4) Consonants do not differ significantly from those in RP. (5) Vowels are in general closer and more frontal than in RP, with /i/ and /u/ as in teatwo diphthongized to /əɪ/ and /əʊ/ respectively. (6) The vowel in can’t dance may be /æ/ or /a/. (7) The schwa is busier than in RP, frequently replacing /ɪ/ in unaccented positions, as in boxesdancesdarkest,velvetacid. (8) Some diphthongs shift, RP /eɪ/ towards /ʌɪ/, as in Australia,daymate, and /aɪ/ towards /ɒɪ/, as in highwide. (9) Speakers whose first language is not English or who have a bilingual background (Aboriginal, immigrant) often use sounds and a delivery influenced by the patterns of the first or other language. (10) The name of the letter h is often pronounced ‘haitch’ by speakers wholly or partly of Irish-Catholic background.

Grammar and vocabulary

There are no syntactic features that distinguish standard AusE from standard BrE, or indeed any major non-standard features not also found in Britain, but there are many distinctive words and phrases. However, although AusE has added some 10,000 items to the language, few have become internationally active. The largest demand for new words has concerned flora and fauna, and predominant occupations like stock-raising have also required new terms. Because of this, AUSTRALIANISMS are predominantly naming words: single nouns (mulga an acacia, mullock mining refuse, muster a round-up of livestock), compounds (black camp an Aboriginal settlement, black tracker an Aboriginal employed by the police to track down missing persons, black velvet Aboriginal women as sexual objects, red-back a spider, redfin a fish, red gum a eucalypt), nouns used attributively (convict colony a penal colony, convict servant orconvict slave a convict assigned as a servant).

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Standard English is a controversial term used to denote a form of written and spoken English that is thought to be normative for educated users. There are no set rules or vocabulary for “Standard English” created by a governing body like French. In fact it has been tried in both American and Britain, but all attempts have failed. However, it does have very well defined grammar rules written down in grammar books that you have all studied, and as well, any number of dictionaries that define the languages words and are published all over the world.

However, there are, as usual complications. Many contend that one should rather speak of “standard Englishes“, or “standard English dialects”, given that there are large, distinct English language communities with distinct standards—such as American English and British English.

Another complication is that English has become the most widely used second language in the world, and as such it is subject to the most alteration by non-native speakers, and numerous “non-native dialects” are developing their own standards (those, for example, of English language publications published in countries where English is generally learned as a foreign language). All the English publications printed in Ukraine are an example of this. You are in a sense, creating your own English as well.


Anyway, let’s see how Standardized English fits the categories for a standard language.


Selection: At the end of the 15th century the London dialect had established itself as the dominant one and existed in two versions: a spoken one and a written one. The latter was called Chancery Standard and developed quickly into the dialect which was to become Standard English. Standard English has changed a great deal since then, but it remains the known standard dialect.

Acceptance:The acceptance of the London dialect as the standard, however, is not so much a result of the economic influence of the London merchants, but that of the students who came from all over England to study in Oxford and Cambridge and here adapted the fashionable dialect. This helped the variety to increase its social and geographical mobility. Its employment by the court, as well as its political usefulness in the wake of growing a national consciousness, led to its final adoption as the standard.

Elaboration: As the new standard began to spread into the domains of administration, government and the Church, it became necessary to expand the linguistic means by which this was to be carried out. As a result the vocabulary of Standard English was also expanded.


Codification: The variety of Standard English became increasingly complex and as more people aspired to use this particular variety, there emerged an enormous need to know of what it consisted. Of the early dictionaries probably the best known is that of Samuel Johnson, whose two volume Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755 and stands at the beginning of a long tradition of dictionaries.


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Briticisms in the United States

Nor did the American troops pick up many Briticisms during their year and a half in France, save temporarily. In an exhaustive and valuable vocabulary of soldiers’ slang compiled by E. A. Hecker and Edmund Wilson, Jr., I can find few words or phrases that seem to be certainly English in origin. To carry on retains in American its old American meaning of to raise a pother, despite its widespread use among the English in the sense of to be (in American) on the job.Even to wangle, perhaps the most popular of all the new verbs brought out of the war by the English, has never got a foothold in the United States, and would be unintelligible to nine Americans out of ten.  
  It is on far higher and less earthly planes that Briticisms make their entry into American, and are esteemed and cultivated. Because the United States has failed to develop a native aristocracy of settled position and authority, there is still an almost universal tendency here, among folk of social pretensions, to defer to English usage and opinion.  The English court, in fact, still remains the only fount of honor that such persons know, and its valuations of both men and customs take precedence of all native valuations. I can’t imagine any fashionable American who would not be glad to accept even so curious an English aristocrat as Lord Reading or Lord Birkenhead at his face value, and to put him at table above a United States Senator. This emulation is visible in all the minutiæ of social intercourse in America—in the hours chosen for meals, in the style of personal correspondence, in wedding customs, in the ceremonials incidental to entertaining, and in countless other directions. It even extends to the use of the language.  We have seen how, even so early as Webster’s time, the intransigent Loyalists of what Schele de Vere calls “Boston and the Boston dependencies” imitated the latest English fashions in pronunciation, and how this imitation continues to our own day. New York is but little behind, and with the affectation of what is regarded as English pronunciation there goes a constant borrowing of new English words and phrases, particularly of the sort currently heard in the West End of London. The small stores in the vicinity of Fifth avenue, for some years past, have all been turning themselves into shops.Shoes for the persons who shop in that region are no longer shoes, but boots, and they are sold by bootmakers in bootshops. One encounters, too, in Fifth avenue and the streets adjacent, a multitude of gift-shops, tea-shops, haberdashery-shops, book-shops, luggage-shops, hat-shops and print-shops. Every apartment-house in New York has a trades-men’s entrance. To Let signs have become almost as common, at least in the East, as For Rent signs. Railway has begun to displace railroad.  Charwoman has been adopted all over the country, and we have begun to forget our native modification of char, to wit, chore. Long ago drawing-roomwas borrowed by the haut ton to take the place of parlor, and hired girls began to be maids.Whip for driver, stick for cane, top-hat for high-hat, and to tub for to bathe came in long ago, and guard has been making a struggle against conductor in New York for years. In August, 1917, signs appeared in the New York surface cars in which the conductors were referred to as guards; all of them are guards on the elevated lines and in the subways save the forward men, who remain conductors officially. In Charles street in Baltimore, some time ago, the proprietor of a fashionable stationery store directed me, not to the elevator but to the lift.During the war even the government seemed inclined to substitute the English hoarding for the American billboard.  In the Federal Reserve Act it actually borrowed the English governorto designate the head of a bank.   
  The influence of the stage is largely responsible for the introduction and propagation of such Briticisms. Of plays dealing with fashionable life, most of those seen in the United States are of English origin, and many of them are played by English companies. Thus the social aspirants of the towns become familiar with the standard English pronunciation of the moment and with the current English phrases. It was by this route, I suppose, that old top and its analogues got in. The American actors, having no court to imitate, content themselves by imitating their English colleagues. Thus an American of fashionable pretensions, say in Altoona, Pa., or Athens, Ga., shakes hands, eats soup, greets his friends, enters a drawing-room and pronounces the wordspath, secretary, melancholy and necessarily in a manner that is an imitation of some American actor’s imitation of an English actor’s imitation of what is done in Mayfair—in brief, an imitation in the fourth degree. No wonder it is sometimes rather crude. This crudity is especially visible in speech habits. The American actor does his best to imitate the pronunciation and intonation of the English, but inasmuch as his name, before he became Gerald Cecil, was probably Rudolph Goetz or Terence Googan, he frequently runs aground upon laryngeal impossibilities. Here we have an explanation of the awful fist that society folk in Des Moines and Little Rock make of pronouncing the test words in the authentic English manner. All such words are filtered through Gaelic or Teutonic or Semitic gullets before they reach the ultimate consumer.    
  The influence of the Protestant Episcopal Church is also to be taken into account. It was the center of Loyalism during the Revolution, and it has fostered a passionate and often excessive Anglomania ever since. In the larger American cities entrance into it is the aim of all social pushers—including, of late, even the Jews —and once they get in they adopt, in so far as they are able, the terminology of its clergy, whose eagerness to appear English is traditional. The fashionable preparatory schools for boys and finishing schools for girls, many of which are directly controlled by this sect, are also very active centers of Anglomania, and have firmly established such Briticisms as headmaster, varsity, chapel (for the service as well as the building), house-master, old boy, monitor, honors, prefect and form, at least in fashionable circles. The late Woodrow Wilson, during his term as president of Princeton, gave currency to various other English academic terms, including preceptor and quad, but the words died with his reforms. At such schools as Groton and Lawrenceville the classes are called forms, and elaborate efforts are made in other ways to imitate the speech of Eton and Harrow. Dr. J. Milnor Coit, while rector of the fashionable St. Paul’s School, at Concord, N. H., gave a great impetus to this imitation of English manners. Says a leading authority on American private schools: “Dr. Coit encouraged cricket rather than baseball. The English schoolroom nomenclature, too, was here introduced to the American boy. St. Paul’s still has forms, but the removes, evensong andmatins, and even the cricket of Dr. Coit’s time are now forgotten. Most boys of the three upper forms have separate rooms. The younger boys have alcoves in the dormitories similar to thecubicles of many of the English public schools.”   
  Occasionally some uncompromising patriot raises his voice against such importations, but he seldom shows the vigorous indignation of the English purists. White, in 1870, warned Americans against the figurative use of nasty as a synonym for disagreeable. The use of the word was then relatively new in England, though, according to White, the Saturday Review and the Spectatorhad already succumbed. His objections to it were unavailing; nasty quickly got into American and has been there ever since. In 1883 Gilbert M. Tucker protested against good-form, traffic(in the sense of travel), to bargain and to tub as Briticisms that we might well do without, but all of them took root and are perfectly sound American today. The locutions that are more obviously merely fashionable slang have a harder time of it, and seldom gain lodgment. When certain advertisers in New York sought to appeal to snobs by using such Briticisms as swaggerand topping in their advertisements, the town wits, led by the watchful Franklin P. Adams (though he serves the Tribune, which Clement K. Shorter once called “more English than we are English”), fell upon them, and quickly routed them. To the average American of the plain people, indeed, any word or phrase of an obviously English flavor appears to be subtly offensive. To call him old dear would be almost as hazardous as to call him Claude or Clarence. He associates all such terms, and the English broad a no less, with the grotesque Britons he sees in burlesque shows. Perhaps this feeling entered into the reluctance of the American soldier to borrow British war slang.

Sourse: http://www.bartleby.com/185/24.html

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General American Pronunciation

Taking into consideration American English variant it’s important to mention that the sociolinguistic situation in the USA is very complicated. It’s moulded by certain linguistic, cultural, historic, demographic, geographic, political and other factors. But in spite of that fact that there are different languages on the same territory, the balance is more in favour of American English. American English shows a lesser degree of dialect that British English due to some historical factors: the existence of Standard English when first English settlers came to America, the high mobility of population, internal migrations of different communities and so on.

In the United States there may be distinguished three main types of cultivated speech: Eastern type, the Southern type, Western or General American.

The Eastern type is spoken along the east coast of New England and largely in New York City. This type of American pronunciation bears a close resemblance to the Southern English type, which is explained by the fact, that the New England States were in closer contact with Britain during the colonization of America and reflected the changes, which had taken place in the pronunciation of London English by the end of the 18 century.

There are, however, some slight differences between the Eastern American type and RP. One of these is the use of a more advanced allophone of the /a:/ phoneme than in RP: a vowel sound intermediate between [æ] and [a:] and similar to the nucleus of the RP diphthong [aυ],e.g. [a˙sk] (ask), [d˙ans] (dance), [la˙f] (laugh).

The Southern type of American pronunciation is used in the south and southeast of the United States. Its most striking distinctive feature is the so-called Southern drawl, which is a specific way of pronouncing vowels, consisting in the diphthongization and even triphthongization at the expense of prolonging (“drawling”) their nuclei and dropping the glides. Thus, that may be pronounced
[ ðæiət] this – [ ðijǝs], cute – [kjuǝt], yes – [jeiǝs], fine – [fa:n], high – [ha:]. Southern American pronunciation has some features in common with RP: the dropping of [r], after [ɜ:], and [ə], the use of clear [l] before a vowel and some others.

The most widespread type of educated American speech is, however, neither the Eastern, nor the Southern. It is the type variously named Western, Midwestern, Central Western or General American (GA). It is not only the most widespread type, but also, like RP in Great Britain, the least regional in character. The close resemblance it has with the Northern British pronunciation. But this fact should not be interpreted as indicating that American English is a dialect of that type of British English. The close resemblance between two types of English pronunciation rather points to the fact that both of them are parallel developments form, or descendants of earlier standard London English.

General American is widely spread in the central Atlantic States: New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin…General American pronunciation is known to be the pronunciation standard of the USA. There are some reasons for it. General American is the form of speech used by the radio and television. It’s mostly used in scientific, cultural and business intercourse. Also in two important business centres – New York and St. Louis –GA is the prevailing form of speech and pronunciation, through New York is situated within the territory where Eastern American is spoken, and St. Louis is within the region of Southern American.

The global innovative processes, that are typical for modern English, reflect the linguistic reality in the system of pronunciation. So, this article helps to know more about the way of language development, gives a possibility to broaden knowledge about Received Pronunciation and General American Pronunciation and finally gives its readers additional information which is subject for further scientific investigations.

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Dialects (American and Canadian)

Midland American Accents

This is a vague term that applies to the American accents that lie between North and South, in states like Missouri, Southern Indiana, Southern Illisnois, Southern Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma, and pockets of a few other states. Accents here vary a good deal, but can best be described as being a combination of Northern and Southern features.

Prominent Features:There’s enough variety here that it is hard to pin down widespread features of this dialect area.

Accent Samples:

Western American Accents

This category covers the largest amount of territory, including most of the Mountain and Western states. Accents here can vary from sounding slightly Southern (as in parts of Colorado) to having a bit of a Canadian flavor (the Pacific Northwest).

Prominent Features: The one dominant feature here is something liguists call the Cot-Caught Merger meaning that words like thoughtpaw and caught are pronounced with the same vowel as notcod and rock.

Accent Samples:

Central Canadian English

We include Canadian accents in this American accents survey because they are part of the same dialect spectrum as the US. This accent is probably closest to English on the West Coast of the United States, which is rather remarkable in the case of cities like Toronto that are hundreds of miles away from the Pacific!

Prominent Features:

  • Most features are fairly similar to General American accents, with slightly different placing of the vowels.
  • Caught-Cot Merger, as in Western American accents (see explanation in that section, above).
  • Canadian Raising: The diphthongs in words like about and right are raised before voiceless consonants. Hence about becomes something like IPA əbɐʊt and right becomes something like IPA ɹɐit (i.e. “uh-boat” and “ruh-eet”).

Accent Samples:

Eastern Canadian English

This curious dialect group can be found in the Provinces of the Atlantic Coast. Many of these dialects maintain some Scottish or Irish features, as they were first settled by these groups. The most notable of these accents is the Newfoundland Dialect, which in some cases sounds much more like an Irish accent than a North American one. Other areas in the region, however, sound more like Central/Western Canada.


Of course, there are many more American accents than this. These are just the largest groupings of accents. There are any number of sub-dialects that are quite unique (New Orleans, African American Vernacular English, Chicago, etc.). Hopefully this guide will serve as a good jumping off point.