We started with our presentations in today's lesson, and we'll continue with them in next week's class.
We had two very good presentations. The first one was about Aboriginal English and the second one was on Scottish English.
Both presentations did a very good job at describing their varieties (e.g. phonology, syntax and lexicon). They each had a few good examples for each feature. You don't need to give many examples of a feature - just a few good ones - like in today's presentations.
Make sure you know your content. You don't have to memorise it, but you should be able to give your presentation without reading your notes.
The video used in the presentation on Aboriginal English is a perfect examples of a good video that illustrates the variety. It showed a L1 speaker of the variety and also it was in a cultural context. The subtitles and transcript were extremely useful. This was a model video.
If you are going to be absent from your presentation, you need to contact me the night before with your reason for your absence (only a serious illness or family issue are acceptable reasons) and give me a doctor's note.
These guidelines are in the course syllabus, and were explained in last week's lesson in the Presentation Reminders handout.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good vacation. We just have a few more weeks left in our course. In today's lesson, we finished our last chapter from our textbook: English as a Lingua Franca.
At the beginning of our lesson, we reviewed some key terms connected to ELF.
ELF is a medium of communication between people of different L1; and it includes speakers from inner, outer and expanding circles
EIL (English as an International Language) is a standard variety used by educated speakers for writing and speaking; variety students learn as a ESL/EFL during formal instruction
World Englishes is a label for all varieties of English; it does not include ELF since it does not have ownership in any of the three circles.
English as a Lingua Franca:
Although ELF is technically not a variety since it doesn't belong to one culture. There are some distinguishing features that common among ELF used in the EU and ASEAN. These include:
Indonesians Fear for their Language:
We then looked at how English can threaten local languages, such as the case in Indonesia where English is preferred to Bahasa Indonesian with some groups of people. Indonesia's case showed us how language can be used to unify a country, such as when Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch. We also saw how democratic reforms often lead to an increase in the use of English.
For the last part of our lesson, you got a chance to meet with your presentation groups to discuss your preparations for our presentations on January 12 and 19. Please review the Presentation Reminders that I handout out in class.
In today's class, we had our course test. Over the holidays, I'll grade them and return them to you in January.
During the break, you'll need to research and make your presentation.
You'll need to prepare an outline and a slide presentation. The outline template is in the Course Information of the website. You can also find a slide presentation on how to organise your presentation.
If you would like me to check your outline, please email it to me by January
We've finished with outer circle Englishes, and for the rest of the course, we'll focus on English as a Lingua Franca and sociolinguistic issues connected to all of the varieties.
Origins of Hong Kong English (HKE):
During the 19th century, there were many traders that made their way through Hong Kong's ports. These traders mainly came from the East India Company. There were also competing American traders in the region. Hong Kong became an official colony at the end of the Opium War in 1842. The Treaty of Nanking opened up ports, and allowed for trade. Originally, traders communicated in a pidgin English. However, English quickly became a lingua franca. In 1974, English became a co-official language with Cantonese in the city-state. Once Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, the Hong Kong government introduced more Cantonese-medium schools, but this was met by protest by many parents. The main reason for this was to decrease any influence of Mandarin Chinese. However, Peking preferred Hong Kong to remain as an international city rather than as a southern Chinese city.
Interlanguage vs. Variety:
Some researchers believer that HKE isn't a true variety. Instead, they believe that it is an interlanguage, which is like an "in-between language" before a L2 gains complete fluency in the target language. Interlanguage combines features of both the L1 and L2. Researchers base their claim on that HKE English has many fossilised errors. Fossilisation happens when the learner cannot master a linguistic term even though he/she has chances to listen to the target language, has motivation, has the chance to practice, and has correction.
Lexical Features of HKE:
However, HKE has unique phonological, syntactical and lexical features like other varieties, so we can't "demote" it to an interlanguage. One particular interesting feature o f HKE is how the local language and context has enriched the varsity's vocabulary.
In next week's lesson, we'll have our course test. The test will include these parts:
a. listening section
c. questions about the article "Cantonese, please."
d. linguistic analysis
e. short paragraph about World Englishes (opinion)
In today's lesson, we learned about another outer circle English, Singaporean English.
Origins of Singapore English:
Singapore was part of the "Straits Settlements" that the British established in 1826. Singapore was an important trading post in the region. English was therefore the administrative language of the colonial government. During this time, many immigrants from China and India settled in Singapore. As a result, languages from those areas have influenced the development of Singapore's dialects. After Singapore gained its independence, the government decided to keep English to maximise economic development and to serve as a lingua franca among all the different ethnic groups.
We then looked at the social varieties of Singapore English. They can be divided into three types. (1) The acrolet is Standard Singaporean English (SSE). It is very similar to Standard British English, and is seen as a "prestige" dialect. It's used in education, government and in other formal situations.
(2) The mesolect is a combination of the acrolet and basilect dialects that has features of both.
(3) The basilect (Singlish) is similar to a creole language since it mixes languages together. It is used as an identity marker, and in informal situations. It is considered a "low prestige" dialect, and the government has campaigned to have locals switch to SSE.
Speak Good English Campaign:
In the last part of class, we discussed some socio-linguistic issues connected to Singapore's "Good English Campaign." This campaign became a part of the government's language policy to improve the use of English in the country.
However, most Singaporeans code-switch between SSE and Singlish depending on the situation. Also, many Singaporeans view Singlish as an identity marker and refuse to give it up.
1. Discussion Notes for "Speak Good English Campaign"
2. Research for Presentation
3. Lecture preparation #9
In today's lesson, we learned about another outer circle English, Nigerian English.
Like India, Nigeria was a former British colony, so British English has influence the development of Nigerian English. English is used here to help serve as a bridge among the different ethnic groups. There are 521 languages (9 extinct) spoken in Nigeria with Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as some of the major languages. English is the official language so that no other local language is given preference in the government and in education.
We listened to a short audio of the standard Nigerian English dialect, and then analysed some of the key features, which include:
These are the key features of Nigerian English syntax:
One of the main characteristics of Nigerian English is the use of ellipses, which is he act of leaving out a word or words from a sentence deliberately, when the meaning can be understood without them.
Also, there is often a direct translation of expressions from the local languages (e.g. wrapper, enstooled, enskinned, etc.)
1. Lecture preparation #8
In today's lesson, we started "outer circle" Englishes, and concentrated on Indian English.
One of th main reasons why English is used in India is because it is one of the most linguistically complex areas in the world with over a 120 recognised languages spoken in the country. There are 22 that are official languages!
English was brought over by the British through the East India Trade Company. Keep in mind, this trading company was very militaristic, and the local populations in India suffered greatly as a colony. The British needed locals who would talk like them, think like them and have the same morals, so the Macauley Minute was passed in 1835 to have English used in government and education.
We listened to a short audio of the standard Indian English dialect, and then analysed some of the key features. One feature is the interchanging of the retroflex sounds: /t/ and /d/. Another feature is that Indian English is a "non-rhotic" language, which means the /r/ sound isn't pronounced after a vowel. RP is also non-rhotic.
These are the key features of Indian English syntax:
One of the main characteristics of Indian English vocabulary is the use of compounding. This occurs when two words are joined together to make a new word with a different meanings from the two individual words. Examples in Indian English include "creamy layer," "pass percentage," "car lifter," etc.
1. Lecture preparation #6
In today's lesson, we learned about Australian English. This will be the last "inner circle" variety we'll learn about in our course. From next week, we're going to learn about the "expanding circle" varieties.
Social Varieties of AusE:
One of the most distinguishing features of Australian English (AusE) is that there are three distinct dialects: Standard, Broad and Cultivated. Remember that this does not include the different varieties spoken by Australia's Aboriginal peoples.
We completed an activity that classified the features of these three dialects, and then listened to different dialect samples.
We didn't go into the phonological features of AusE. However, it's important to know about the "high rising tone," and the negative and positive connotations associated with it. You can review this feature using the slide presentation.
For the last part of class, we learned some culture-specific vocabulary. Also, we focused on the use of "clippings" in AusE. These are like abbreviations, but have diminutive suffixes added to them. For example, the word sunglasses becomes "sunnies" and lipstick because "hippie."
1. Lecture preparation #5
It was another busy lesson that passed by too quickly. I bet you were surprised that President Obama's and rapped Tupac have similarities in the way they use AAVE.
African American Vernacular English (AAVE):
In order to become familiar with AAVE pronunciation and idiomatic language, we watch a short video that discussed the reason for the use of AAVE.
We then completed an activity that identified the grammar features of AAVE. These include:
Man of Words
We then spent the remaining part of class analysing two different types of AAVE oratory style (or man of words). This is an African cultural value that the slaves brought to the U.S. and preserved by their descendants. In Africa, this man might have been a village chief or shaman who used his oratorical skills to have people follow him. The African American community values high verbal performance and oratorical skills.
A man of words in the African American community is someone who is skilled at reciting in rhyme the history of his experience in important historical events, such as the civil rights movement.
Rap music is part of the man or words tradition. Those who can improvise raps or rhymes on a variety of topics gain prestige in the community.
One of the most famous man of words speaker was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who is known for his "I Have a Dream" speech.
In our class, we compared two examples of "man of words": President Obama's "Yes, We Can" speech and west coast rapper Tupac's "Changes" lyrics.
Remember to note down the terminology from today's lesson. You'll need to know it for our course test:
a. code switching
b. identity marker
e. suprasegmental forward stress
f. oratory style "man of words"
1. Lecture preparation #4
We've now started to learn about the different varieties of English, and started with British English in today's lesson.
Krachu's Circle of World Englishes:
At the beginning of our lesson, we looked at the spread of modern English. We can divide this spread into three stages: Inner Circle, Outer Circle and Expanding Circle.
In the Inner and Outer Circles, you can find standard varieties. In the Inner Circle, English is used as an official language, such as in government, education and everyday life. In the Outer Circle, English is used in addition to an official language. For example, in Malaysia, the official language in Malay, but English is used in many facets of society.
For the Expanding Circle, this means English is in the process of standardizing. It is taught in school, but it is still not used in everyday interactions in society.
We watched a short video on the variety of dialects used in the U.K. There are a minimum of 30 different dialects, each with its own pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary use. However, we focused on Received Pronunciation (RP) or Standard British English.
We had a variety of activities to show how British English differs in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary from American English. This will help you identify some of the features of British English in the videos you have to watch for homework.
1. Lecture preparation #3