Varieties of English – maturitní otázka z angličtiny



Otázka: Varieties of English

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a):  eMko



Historical aspects

The English language is part of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, so it is related to German, Danish, Dutch…  originally… (equivalents: water, father, house, man, work)

plurals: ox – oxen, child – children


we call this original language, spoken by Angles and Saxons –  Old English


Also Scandinavian invaders (Vikings) brought some words: sky, get, skin, husband, they, their, them.. The „th“ sound comes from Viking languages: the, thick, brother…


However, after the Norman invasion and occupation of England in 1066, the English language changed dramatically. Mainly pronunciation changed and new words were adopted.

Before the words read similarly as they were written.

Many Old English words were replaced by French words, many new synonyms appeared


ex: freedom – liberty, help – aid, etc..

other words from French: advantage, important, arrive, courage, government, people, army, nation, language


In short, in the 14th century English emerged as a NEW language. The Old English epic poem Beowulf became unintelligible for common people. This new language influenced by French was called: Middle English.


Middle English – still, it was very different from modern English as we know it today.

Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer are the most famous piece of literature written in Middle English, there are also poems by Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English.


Today we speak Modern English which slowly developed from the Middle English.

We talk about modern English since the time of Shakespeare.


English was enriched also by words from Latin and Greek:

Latin: mostly prefixes, like: multi-, super-, sub-, or words like: library, legal, military, judge


Many Latin words entered English scientific and scholarly vocabulary in the 17th – 18th cntury

abbreviations AD (anno domini), versus English BC (before Christ) a.m. (ante meridium), p.m. (post meridium),  e.g. (exempli gratia) i. e (ita est)  – assistance, a synonym for help, or aid etc. (et cetera 🙂

plurals: antena – antenae, cactus – cactae


Greek: phone= voice, photo=light, philo=friend, to love, sophy=wisdom, tele=afar, mono=one, poly=many, logo=word


Arabic words: algebra, alcohol, coffee, zero

Indian languages: jungle, verandah

American languages: tomato, chocolate

Turkish: yoghurt

Czech: robot, pistol

The universal use of the internet and sms adds new abbreviations or even new word forms and spelling into the language, so new forms are appearing every day:


ASAP – as soon as possible, XXX – kisses, XOXOX – hugs and kisses, Xmas – Christmas,

RUOK? – Are You OK? 4U – for you, RU free 2moro? – Are you free tomorrow?

I love U2 – I love you too, Xlnt ida – excellent idea, @Wk – at work, OMG – oh my God,

thx – thanks, CU l8r – see you later,  LOL,  and many, many others….


Regional and social aspects

The dialect dialect of the Midlands became Standart English (influence of Oxford and Cambridge universities)


RP – received pronunciation (nobody speaks perfect English as a mother tongue, everybody uses  some kind of dialect, to acquire proficiency in English you must study and reach the level of the educated pronunciation which is the only neutral and correct one, without any dialect or accent). Also called the upper class accent

(see Pygmalion – My Fair Lady. Professor Higgins teaches Elisa RP)


Oxford English , BBC English should be an example of correct, neutral standart English, understandable throughout the country – versus spoken English, dialects, colloquial expressions, many various accents


Within UK we recognise a splendid variety of dialects.


The best known are – Cockney – London dialect (comes from the word cock´s egg – meaning a bad shape or weak egg – a term used by the country people for the townspeople)

it is a lower class dialect

(see Pygmalion – My Fair Lady. Elisa speaks Cockney and Professor Higgins teaches her RP – the correct pronunciation) example: song „With a Little Bit of Luck“ , „rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,“ etc…

Cockney enriched standart English e.g. with the word kid for a child → now used mainly in |Am.English


Scouse dialect – in the area of Liverpool, Newcastle – it is a word for oat meal, a very common dish in this area (John Lennon and the Beatles spoke typical Scouse dialect)

Geordie – north-east of England

Brummie – Birmingham and surrounding area


Besides, Scottish dialect  is quite different (very strong „r“) and often hard to understand + Scotch – original Celtic language – e.g. loch – lake,

there is Welsh dialect (+ welsh – the original Gaelic language) and

Irish dialect (Irish Gaelic is a different language – the Celts


English – the world language

In 17th century colonization and settlements in America started.  (1620 – Pilgrim Fathers, Mayflower ship, Plymouth plantation, Thanksgiving)

Britain ruled North American colonies till 1776 and Canadian colonies till now, actually – The British queen is still the head of the state in Canada…

English language spread over the continent. That was the start of American English.

The British Empire in Victorian era (19th century) included West Indies, India (which also included Pakistan), Australia, New Zealand, Canada and several colonies in Africa (South Africa, Tanzania)

In all those countries English language spread and in most of them it is still the official and the most commonly used language.


English as mother language: USA, Australia and New Zealand

English as the official language: Canada with French as a second language, Ireland with Gaelic, in India with Hindi, Pakistan with Urdu, South Africa with Africaans, Tanzania with Swahili, etc.. (over 70 countries)

English has gradually developed into the main medium of science, medicine, technology, business, media, music, communication, politics, etc.. In the later 20th century, non-native users of English began to outnumber the native users because English had spread to territories in all continents.

With technological progress new words like: hardware, laser, mobil, internet,  laptop, iPod appeared


American English

AmE is a variety of the English language, a national standart in the U.S.A


different spelling: catalog, dialog, center, color, jewelry, plow, traveled, program

pronunciation: after, clerk, dance (více „e“ než „a“) duty, letter (spíš „d“ než „t“) new (spíše „n“ než  „ň“) doctor, sister, bar, corn („r“ je vždy znělé, i na konci, nebo uprostřed slova)

many differences in vocabulary: apartment (A) – flat (B), pants (A) – trousers (B), movie (A) – film (B),….


Some new words emerged (americanisms): prairie, canyon, cheerleader, Thanksgiving, boss, cafeteria, OK, Santa Claus.

new American inventions: bulldozer, hamburger, lipstick, supermarket.


Australian English uses a lot of shortenings, for instance breckie (breakfast), footy (football), barbie (barbecue)

There are words from original languages: cangaroo


differences in vocabulary: station means farm (sheep station), squatter (farmer)


GOOD DAY (g´day) – instead of good morning or good afternoon

OK (pronounced oikai) – accent, different pronunciation of „O“ – (oi)

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