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There are two types of language territorial varieties: variants and dialects. Regional variants of standard language are used in large areas as means of orral and written communication: British, American, Australian and Canadian English. Dialects are varieties of non-standard language used in small localities for oral communication. The main variants of the English language are British and American. British, American, Australian and Canadian English cannot be regarded as different languages as they have essentially the same vocabulary, phonetic and grammar systems. They also cannot be referred to local dialects: they serve all spheres of verbal communicationand have dialectal differences of their own. Each regional variant has its phonetic, grammatical and lexical peculiarities. Phonetic differencies include articulatory-acoustic characteristics and use of some phonemes, peculiar rhythm and intonation. Grammatical differences consist in the preference of this or that grammatical category or form: the preference of Past Indefinite to Present Perfect in American English, the formation of the Future Simple with the auxiliary “will“ for all persons in American English, lexical peculiarities are not very numerous. These are mainly divergencies in the semantic structure of words and their usage.
Origin of the Regional Variants
American English begins its history at the beginning of the 17th century when first English-speaking settlers began to settle on the Atlantic coast of the American continent. The language which they brought from England was the language spoken in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. The first settlers took some of the names for local places, animals, plants, customs from languages spoken by the local population – Indians: chipmuck (an American sqiurrel), squaw (an Indian woman). Besides Englishmen, settlers from France, Spain and other countries came to America. Therefore, some words were borrowed from their languages: bureau, depot, pumpkin (French), bonanza, cockroach, lasso (Spanish). Such words as boss, dope, sleigh were borrowed from Dutch. The second period of American English history begins in the 19th century. Immigrants continued to come from Europe to America. Italians brought with them a style of cooking which brought with them a style of cooking which became widely spread and such words as pizza, spaghetti came into English. There were words borrowed from German: hamburger, noodle, schnitzel. During the second period of American English history there appeared quite a number of words and word-groups which were formed in the language due to the new political system, liberation of America from the British colonialism, its independence. the following lexical units appeared due to these events: The United
States of America, assembly, Senate, senator, President, Vice-President.
Differences between British and American English
There are some differences between British and American English in their usage: 1. Differences in the usage of prepositions: such as prepositions with dates, days of the week. British English (BE) requires on (I start my holiday on Friday). In American English (AE) there is no preposition (I start my vacation Friday). Compare also a quarter to five (BE) and a quarter of five b(AE), in the street (BE) and on the street (AE).
2. There are also differences in vocabulary. a) There are units of vocabulary which are different while denoting the same notions: BE trousers – AE pants; in BE pants are трусы which in AE is shorts. While in BE shorts are outwear. b) There are some differences in names of places: passage (BE) – hall (AE), pillar box (BE) – mail-box (AE), zebra crossing (BE) – Pxing (AE). c) Some names of useful objects are also different: rubber (BE) – eraser (AE), parcel (BE) – package (AE), tap (BE) – faucet (AE). d) Some words connected with food are different: tin (BE) - can (AE), sweet (BE) – dessert (AE). chips (BE) – french fries (AE). e) Some words denoting personal items have different names: tights (BE) – pantyhose (AE), turn-ups (BE) – cuffs (AE), waistcoat (BE) – vest (AE). h) Differences in the organization of education lead to different terms: BE public school – a private school, AE public school – a free local authority school; BE secondary school is AE high school.
3. Differences in spelling.
There are some differences in the position of the stress: BE add`ress – AE `address, BE re`cess – AE `recess.
Local Dialects on the British Isles
There are six groups of English local dialects: Lowland (Scottish), Northern, Western; Midland, Eastern, Southern. They are used in oral speech by local population. Only the Scottish dialect has its own literature (R. Burns). One of the best known dialects of British English is the dialect of London - Cockney. There are some peculiarities of it: interchange of [v] and [w] – wery vell; interchange of [h] and [ґ] - ґeart for heart.
As compared with the national literary vocabulary dialectal vocabularies include a limited number of words. They are mainly names for local customs, social life, natural conditions and farming: laird “landed proprietor, kirk “church“. Many dialectisms are emotionally coloured: Scot. bonny, daffy. National words
may have a different meaning in dialects: Scot. call (to drive), short (rude). Some affixes are dialectal. The Irish diminutive suffix –een can be added even to English stems: girleen, squireen. Besides, dialectal vocabularies do not include scientific or technical terms.
Local Dialects in the USA
There exist a number of local dialects which are divided into three major groups: Northern, Southern and Midland (North Midland and South Midland). It should be mentioned that the American English is practically uniform all over the country, because of the conctant transfer of people from one part of the
country to the other. However, some peculiarities in New York dialect can be pointed out, e.g. there is no distinction between [ǽ] and [a:] in such words as ask, dance, sand, bad, both phonemes are possible. The combinations ir and ear in the words bird, girl, learn is pronounced as [oi]. In the words duty, tune [j] is not
pronounced [ґdu:ti], [tu:n].
Фонетика как наука. Предмет и задачи теоретической фонетики.
Phonetics - is a branch of Linguistics that studies:
1) sounds in the broad sense, comprising segmental sounds (vowels and consonants) and prosodic units;
2) ways in which sounds are organized into a system of units;
3) variation of the units in all types and styles of a spoken language;
4) acoustic properties of sounds;
5) physiological basis of sound production (taking into account individual peculiarities of a speaker).
The Phonetic System of a Language - a set of phonetic units arranged in an orderly way to replace each other in a given framework. 2 levels:
1. THE SEGMENTAL LEVEL:
a specially organized level of the phonetic system with a certain number of its units: sounds of speech (vowels and consonants) which form the vocalic and consonantal subsystems. Phonetic units are meaningless(no lex. or gram. meaning), but serve to form other lang. units and differentiate their lex. and gram. meaning.
2. THE PROSODIC (SUPRASEGMENTAL ) LEVEL:
a specially organized level of the phonetic system with a certain number of its units: syllables, rhythmic groups, intonation groups, utterances which form the subsystems of pitch, rhythm, stress, tempo, pauses.
Human speech is the result of the following highly complicated series of events:
Process of oral speech production
Aspects of sound phenomena
· the articulatoryaspect(comprises all the movements and positions of the speech organs necessary to pronounce a speech sound; studies respiration, phonation, articulation )
According to the main sound-producing functions, the speech organs can be divided into the following four groups:
(1) the power mechanism (regulates the force of the air stream);
(2) the vibration mechanism (vibrator function when producing voice);
(3) the resonator mechanism (principal resonators);
(4) the obstruction mechanism (forms obstructions).
· the acoustic aspect (presupposes that sounds exist in the form of sound waves and have the following physical properties:
- intensity (depends on the amplitude of vibrations);
- frequency (the number of vibrations of the vocal cords per second);
- duration (the time of vibrations)
- spectrum (the range of frequencies)
· the auditory (perceptive) aspect(analyses speech sounds from the point of view of perception)
· the linguistic(functional) aspect(segmental sounds and prosodic units are linguistic phenomena because they constitute meaningful units and perform
main linguistic functions:
ü Constitutive function: phonetic units constitute units of the upper levels of a language: morphemes, words, word-forms, utterances;
ü Distinctive function: phonetic units when opposed to each other differentiate lexical and grammatical meanings of other language units (e.g. ask – asks, man-men, eat-each, a name-an aim);
ü Identificatory (recognitive) function: the sound phenomena enable the listener to identify them as concrete words, word-forms or utterances.
Branches of Phonetics
v Articulatory Phonetics (studies the way in which the speech organs are used to produce single sounds and their combinations);
v Acoustic Phonetics (the study of the physical properties of speech sounds);
v Auditory Phonetics (studies the way people perceive speech sounds);
v Functional Phonetics (Phonology) (studies the linguistic aspect of speech sounds).
PH. was founded in Prague by a group of linguists (N. Trubetskoy, R. Jacobson and oth.).
PH. discovers distinctive features of sound matter that have a differential value in a language.
PH. establishes the system of phonemes and prosodemes.
PH. studies the laws of distribution and grouping phonemes in syllables and words.
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