Territorial varieties of English pronunciation — страница 3

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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.» So in the light of social criteria languages are «characterized by two plans of socially conditioned variability – stratification, linked with societal structure, and situational, linked with the social context of language use.» (38, p. 6)3 Having had our main terms straightened we may speak now of the «language situation» in terms of the horizontal and vertical differentiations of the language,

the first in accordance with the spheres of social activity, the second-with its situational variability. It is evident that the language means are chosen consciously or subconsciously by a speaker according to his perception of the situation, in which he finds himself. Hence situational varieties of the language are called functional dialects or functional styles and situational pronunciation varieties – situational accents or phonostyles. It has also to be remembered that the language of its users varies according to their individualities, range of intelligibility, cultural habits, sex and age differences. Individual speech of members of the same language community is known as idiolect. Now in conclusion it would be a perfectly natural thing to say that language in serving

personal and social needs becomes part of the ceaseless flux of human life and activity. Human communication cannot be comprehended without recognizing mutual dependence of language and context. The mystery of language lies, if nowhere, in its endless ability to adapt both to the strategies of the individual and to the needs of the community, serving each without imprisoning either. This is what makes sociolinguistics as a science so important. In this book, though, we shall focus our attention on territorial modifications of English pronunciation viewing them as an object of sociolinguistic study. 2. The main part 2.1 Spread of English It is common knowledge that over 300 million people now speak English as first language. It is the national language of Great Britain, the USA,

Australia, New Zealand and Canada (part of it). English was originally spoken in England and south-eastern Scotland. Then it was introduced into the greater part of Scotland and southern Ireland. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was brought to North America (mainly from the West of England). Later in the 18th and 19th centuries English was exported to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa owing to the colonial expansion. A flow of emigrants who went to invade, explore and inhabit those lands came mostly from the south-eastern parts of England. English became wide-spread in Wales at about the same time. Welsh English is very similar to southern English, although the influence of Welsh has played a role in its formation. Then in the 20th century American English began to spread

in Canada, Latin America, on the Bermudas, and in other parts of the world. Thus nowadays two main types of English are spoken in the English-speaking world: English and American English. According to British dialectologists (P. Trudgill, J. Hannah, A. Hughes and others (61, 78) the following variants of English are referred to the English-based group: English, Welsh English, Australian English, New Zealand English; to the American-based group: United States English, Canadian English. Scottish English and Irish English fall somewhere between the two being somewhat by themselves. On the whole this division seems rather reasonable and the «English» types of English will be treated first in this book, though it is safe to say that English, Welsh English, Scottish English and