“INNER CIRCLE” ENGLISHES – FOCUS ON CANADA

 

Criteria for “Inner circle” Englishes

 

Examples include

 

Terms include

 


[Ask Canadians in the class if they’re aware of regional differences]

 

SETTLER ENGLISHES ARE CHARACTERISTICALLY HOMOGENEOUS RELATIVE TO BRITISH ENGLISH

 

Settlement

 

Dialect contact -> homogenization

 

Some regional variation

 

THERE’S ALWAYS VARIATION WITHIN EVEN ‘HOMOGENEOUS’ VARIETIES

 


[Ask non-Canadians WHAT’S DISTINCT ABOUT CANADIAN ENGLISH?]

 

FEW GRAMMATICAL DIFFERENCES FROM BrE

§         Chambers charts more exx of dove (and more younger people) than dived

o        more “American” innovation

o        upset the Rev Geikie in 1850s

o        ask them to explain what’s so odd about it

§         some variation between British “Have you got” and American “Do you have”

o        ask them to explain the variation between the very formal British “Have you a pen?” and “Do you have a pen?”

§         some variation in preposition usage

o        e.g. twenty of/to nine?

o        e.g. in/on a street

o        e.g. seen him in/for weeks

 

PRONUNCIATION DIFFERENCES FROM BRITISH ENGLISH MOST SALIENT

 

Canadian English sounds a lot like US English

 

SOME REASONS FOR DIFFERENCES IN PRONUNCIATION BETWEEN BrE AND SETTLER ENGLISHES

 

Settlement by speakers of non-standard British dialects, e.g. Scots

 

Independent development of changes already underway

 

Linguistic changes happening subsequently in Britain but not in the ‘colonial’

 

Linguistic changes happening in colony but not in Britain

 

Lexical-incidental pronunciations often the most salient to laypeople

 

IN WRITING, THE MOST PROMINENT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRITISH ENGLISH AND OTHER “INNER CIRCLE” VARIETIES ARE LEXICAL

·         some of this information comes from talks given to other classes by Katherine Barber, editor of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary

 

New setting, topography: new words needed

 

Often used old English words in new ways

 

Or retain meanings of words that were subsequently lost in Britain

 

Contact with other European languages in colonial situation

 

Lexical difference reflect culturally distinct things

 

Some Canadianisms are more recent loans from immigrant languages

 

Different trends in Canadian English (Chambers)

 

Does a distinct Canadian English exist?

 

Is it distinctive enough to codify?