Give examples of other varieties of English than those that are used in the Anglo-American core area and reflect on their distinctive character.
We often limit ourselves just to the few types of English we know of, which are British, American and also Australian English. However there is so much more to this mysterious language, and wherever we go, we totally unconsciously meet with different accents, dialects, and types of the language. This is exactly what we had focused on in today’s English class. Here are a few examples:
The official language in Jamaica is standard English. Even though the USA is much nearer, it is due to the colonizations that Jamaican is based on British- and not American- English. The local English has, of course, it’s own specific accent. Patois is often a hot topic for linguistics and professors- some consider it as a dialect, others say that it is a language just like any other and should become the official language in Jamaica since everyone uses it on a daily basis.
Linguistics say, that Patois is a creole language. Sources to the Jamaican Creole date back to slavery. It has very simplified English and the languages of West Africa at its base. The black population of Jamaica derives mainly from the area of present-day Ghana. Over time, pronunciation, accent, and vocabulary were influenced by the newcomers from around the world.
Here is an example of the Jamaican Accent:
South African English
The South African variety of English is used in the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Even though the South African language has identical grammar and orthography as British English, there have been developed many vocabulary differences. Many loanwords come from the germanic language Afrikaans (Dutch, which got developed in Africa) and native African languages. What is also important, is that South African English is a native language just for 40% of the RSA residents, the rest of the citizens use Afrikaans.
The outstanding thing about this language is throwing in “ja” in places, where other English speaking people would rather say “yes”, “yeah” or “well. It is also worth looking at the use of “just now”, which doesn’t mean immediate action like in other parts of the world. The definition within this is more likely “in a while”, “in a few hours”. A similar phrase “now-now”, actually means in about half an hour. This is worth keeping in mind, as we might have trouble with communication while visiting this country.
English came to India during the time of British colonization. As a result of this event, the Indian form of English was evolved, which was influenced by their native dialects. In recent years, English has gained in India the status of official language, next to Hindi. In addition, the English language used in India is also not uniform and there are differences depending on the region, mainly due to accretions of the mother tongue of the population.
Between the classic English and the language used in India, there are many differences at the level of phonological, which is associated with the properties of the phonetic alphabet of the Indian languages. For example, in the Indian variety of English, the vowel / e / is lengthened, even in monosyllabic words. Many common consonants for the English language do not exist in Indic languages, and therefore they are replaced by other consonants, which are on a similar level of articulation. Moreover, in some regions, the consonant clusters are not pronounced, and the words beginning with “w” and “v” sound similar. Some diphthongs are pronounced as a short vowel.
The vocabulary is also shaped differently – it is typical to blend English and the dialect of a given region to determine the nouns, especially flora and fauna.
Here, you can listen to how Indian English sounds:
I hope that just by these few exampled, you could somewhat expand your knowledge on the English language. It was very interesting to read about the differences and similarities, and to discover the variation in accents and dialects. I have certainly learned a lot, and I hope you enjoyed reading this post.