Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Varieties of English

We just had an oral presentation about different varieties of English.

The competency goal we are working on today is: Give examples of other varieties of English then those that are used in the Anglo-American core area, and reflect on their distinctive character.

English is now the most widely used language in the world. The enormous amount of English-speakers in the world is due to the number of people having English as their second or third language.  It is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations all these countries are defined as Anglo-American. There are so many varieties of accents among English speakers. And that's why we've decided to talk about three of them.  English in: South Africa, Singapore and Barbados.

South African English 

South African English is the dialect of English spoken by South Africans; there are different varieties of English spoken by Zimbabweans, Zambians and Namibians.  There are three groups that South African English has been classified in, caused social differences. First one is cultivated it can be associated with upper class , then it's  general, a social indicator of the middle class, and broad, associated with the working class. There are words that do not exist in British or American English, usually derived from African languages such as Afrikaans or Zulu, although, particularly, there is also an influence from Indian languages and slang developed by subcultures, particularly surfers. 

English- Standard Singapore

 There are two main forms of English- Standard Singapore English (SSE) and Singapore Colloquial English (better known as singlish). SSE is the most common variety of English used in Singapore. It is similar to British, with the same grammar and spelling. Because Singapore is one of the Commonwealth nations, the form of especially writing is like British.
The other form of English spoken in Singapore is "Singlish". This is associated with low prestige, and is therefore not used much in formal communication. Singlish has, in contrast to SSE, words from among others, Mandarin and Hokkien. However, Singlish is used a lot in films and sitcoms, mainly locally made. Army Daze and Mee Pok Man are examples of films where Singlish is frequently used. The government has through decades tried to extinct the Singlish language, because in their opinion Singlish presents an obstacle to learning Standard English.

Barbados English 

The official language in Barbados is English; however you may also hear the locals speak ''Bajan Creole''. English is used by Barbadians in formal settings, such as communication and public services. In informal settings, like music or social commentary, Barbadians often speak with their Bajan dialect. People of Barbados use British English including in the spelling of some words, because of their long British heritage. Examples: favorite, not favorite and center instead of center.
Bajan creole consists of a West-African substrate and English substrate, which means languages are influenced by another through contact. Standard English is a secondary native tongue of most Barbadians, and is usually used when talking formally. Barbadians may opt to speak Bajan amongst themselves or when in a very relaxed setting. Bajan is a primarily spoken language with no standardized written form. Due to the lack of standardization, spelling may vary widely from person to person. There is much dialectal variation throughout the island. Barbadians practicing Rastafari on the island also tend to speak more with a Jamaican accent than full Bajan.

The first similarity we noticed was that all three countries are former British colonies. This has influenced the language, and at least one of the forms of English spoken in all three countries is very similar to British English. However, we can see that the people have developed the British English, and made it their own. They have done this by adding words from for instance Mandarin, Indian and West African. Another similarity we saw was between Singapore and South Africa. In both of these countries, the different varieties of English are spoken in different social groups. In Singapore, Singlish is associated with low prestige, and is mostly spoken but the working-class. In South-Africa, the working-class speak a broad South-African. In Barbados, the language used in formal settings is British English, and this also counts for Singapore.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article about the different varieties of English. Not sure if I understood this one though: and center instead of center under Barbados English!