American English is a form of the English language

Дата добавления: 30 Марта 2013 в 10:18
Автор: 0*******@mail.ru
Тип работы: курсовая работа
Скачать полностью (36.53 Кб)
Работа содержит 1 файл
Скачать  Открыть 

АМЕРИКАН. ВАРІАНТ АНГЛ. МОВИ У ЛІТ..doc

  —  108.00 Кб


 

Contents

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………….... 2

CHAPTER 1. General characteristics of the American English language……...... 4

    1. Lexical and semantic differences between British English and American English………………………………………………………………...……. 4
    2. Regional peculiarities of American English…………………………........... 9

CHAPTER 2. Lexical and semantic peculiarities of American English in fiction……………………………………………………………..………...……. 19

2.1. Americanisms as structural component of the novel “Love Story” by Erich Segal…………………………………………………………………….....…….. 19

2.2. The functional role of American English in the novel……………………… 21

CONCLUSIONS……………………………………………...…………………. 24

BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………….…. 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

American English is a form of the English language used in the United States of America. It is the primary language used in the United States.

Everyone knows that Americans speak English differently than the British or Australians or even Canadians do, but most of the time we think of these differences in terms of the way we pronounce certain words (i.e., our accents). Most people also know that there are some differences that manifest themselves in written language as well as speech. But beyond calling some things by different names, there are many other peculiarities of American English in its phrasing and syntax that set it apart from other brands of the English language. There are also considerable semantic differences between British and American English. Usage not only differs but can be misleading.

Of course, even within the U.S. there are considerable variations in not only terminology, but also phrasing and syntax, as you move from region to region across the nation. In fact, the characteristics of different “brands” of American English has been a topic of considerable interest for at least 100 years, and has led to the creation of a “Dictionary of American Regional English”, a multi-volume work-in-progress that documents regional variations in terminology and pronunciation across the U.S. The object of the study is the American English.

The subject of the study is lexical and semantic peculiarities of American English in fiction.

The aim of the study is to study lexical and semantic peculiarities of American English language.

The additional tasks of the study are as follows:

1) generalization of the main peculiarities of American English;

2)the analysis of the regional features of American English used in literature;

 

         3) the study of lexical and semantic peculiarities of American English in fiction.

The theoretical significance of the study is connected with the generalization of the main as well as regional peculiarities of American English.

The practical relevance of the study lies in the use of its results in theoretical courses as well as practical classes (e.g. English Studies).

The structure of the study is predetermined by its aim and additional tasks. So it is as follows: introduction, two chapters, conclusions and bibliography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1. General characteristics of the American English language

    1. Lexical and semantic differences between British English and American English

 

American English shows many influences from the different cultures and languages of the people who settled in North America. The nature of the influence depends on the time and the circumstances of contact between cultures.

Although all Americans do not speak the same way, their speech has enough in common that American English can be recognized as a variety of English distinct from British English, Australian English, and other national varieties. American English has grown up with the country. It began to diverge from British English during its colonial beginnings and acquired regional differences and ethnic flavor during the settlement of the continent. Today it influences other languages and other varieties of English because it is the medium by which the attractions of American culture–its literature, motion pictures, and television programs–are transmitted to the world.

All speakers of English share a common linguistic system and a basic set of words. But American English differs from British English, Australian English, and other national varieties in many of its pronunciations, words, spellings, and grammatical constructions. Words or phrases of American origin, and those used in America but not so much elsewhere, are called Americanisms.

        American English and British English differ at the levels of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary, and, to a lesser extent, grammar and orthography. The first large American dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, was written by Noah Webster in 1828; Webster intended to show that the United States, which was a relatively new country at the time, spoke a different dialect from that of Britain.

 

 

 

Differences in grammar are relatively minor, and normally do not affect mutual intelligibility; these include: different use of some verbal auxiliaries; formal (rather than notional) agreement with collective nouns; different preferences for the past forms of a few verbs (e.g. American English/British English: learned/learnt, burned/burnt, and in sneak, dive, get); different prepositions and adverbs in certain contexts (e.g. American English in school, British English at school); and whether or not a definite article is used, in very few cases (American English to the hospital, British English to hospital; contrast, however, American English actress Elizabeth Taylor, British English the actress Elizabeth Taylor). Often, these differences are a matter of relative preferences rather than absolute rules; and most are not stable, since the two varieties are constantly influencing each other [2; 67].

Differences in orthography are also trivial. Some of the forms that now serve to distinguish American from British spelling (color for colour, center for centre, traveler for traveller, etc.) were introduced by Noah Webster himself; others are due to spelling tendencies in Britain from the 17th century until the present day (for instance, -ise for -ize, although the Oxford English Dictionary still prefers the -ize ending) and cases favored by the francophile tastes of 19th century Victorian England, which had little effect on American English (for instance, programme for program, manoeuvre for maneuver, skilful for skillful, cheque for check, etc.).

American English sometimes favors words that are morphologically more complex, whereas British English uses clipped forms, such as American English transportation and British English transport or where the British form is a back-formation, such as American English burglarize and British English burgle (from burglar). It should however be noted that these words are not mutually exclusive, being widely understood and mostly used alongside each other within the two systems.

Among the earliest and most notable regular “English” additions to the American vocabulary, dating from the early days of colonization through the early 19th century, are terms describing the features of the North American landscape; for instance, run, branch, fork, snag, bluff, gulch, neck (of the woods), barrens, bottomland, notch, knob, riffle, rapids, watergap, cutoff, trail, timberline and divide. Already existing words such as creek, slough, sleet and (in later use) watershed received new meanings that were unknown in England.

The process of coining new lexical items started as soon as the colonists began borrowing names for unfamiliar flora, fauna, and topography from the Native American languages. Examples of such names are opossum, raccoon, squash and moose (from Algonquian). Other Native American loanwords, such as wigwam or moccasin, describe artificial objects in common use among Native Americans. The languages of the other colonizing nations also added to the American vocabulary; for instance, cookie, cruller, stoop and pit (of a fruit) from Dutch; levee, portage (“carrying of boats or goods”) and (probably) gopher from French; barbecue, stevedore and rodeo from Spanish.

Other noteworthy American toponyms are found among loanwords; for example, prairie, butte (French); bayou (Choctaw via Louisiana French); coulee (Canadian French, but used also in Louisiana with a different meaning); canyon, mesa, arroyo (Spanish); vlei, kill (Dutch, Hudson Valley).

The word corn, used in England to refer to wheat (or any cereal), came to denote the plant Zea mays, the most important crop in the U.S., originally named Indian corn by the earliest settlers; wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc. came to be collectively referred to as grain (or breadstuffs). Other notable farm related vocabulary additions were the new meanings assumed by barn (not only a building for hay and grain storage, but also for housing livestock) and team (not just the horses, but also the vehicle along with them), as well as, in various periods, the terms range, (corn) crib, truck, elevator, sharecropping and feedlot.

American English has always shown a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs. Examples of verbed nouns are interview, advocate, vacuum, lobby, room, pressure, rear-end, transition, feature, profile, belly-ache, spearhead, skyrocket, showcase, service (as a car), corner, torch, exit (as in “exit the lobby”), factor (in mathematics), gun (shoot), author (which disappeared in English around 1630 and was revived in the U.S. three centuries later) and, out of American material, proposition, graft (bribery), bad-mouth, vacation, major, backpack, backtrack, intern, ticket (traffic violations), hassle, blacktop, peer-review, dope and OD, and, of course verbed as used at the start of this sentence. The saying goes, “In the US of A there is no such thing as a noun that can't be “verbed””.

Compounds coined in the U.S. are for instance foothill, flatlands, badlands, landslide (in all senses), overview (the noun), backdrop, teenager, brainstorm, bandwagon, hitchhike, smalltime, deadbeat, frontman, lowbrow and highbrow, hell-bent, foolproof, nitpick, about-face (later verbed), upfront (in all senses), fixer-upper, no-show; many of these are phrases used as adverbs or (often) hyphenated attributive adjectives: non-profit, for-profit, free-for-all, ready-to-wear, catchall, low-down, down-and-out, down and dirty, in-your-face, nip and tuck; many compound nouns and adjectives are open: happy hour, fall guy, capital gain, road trip, wheat pit, head start, plea bargain; some of these are colorful (empty nester, loan shark, ambulance chaser, buzz saw, ghetto blaster, dust bunny), others are euphemistic (differently abled, human resources, physically challenged, affirmative action, correctional facility).

Many compound nouns have the form verb plus preposition: add-on, stopover, lineup, shakedown, tryout, spin-off, rundown (“summary”), shootout, holdup, hideout, comeback, cookout, kickback, makeover, takeover, rollback (“decrease”), rip-off, come-on, shoo-in, fix-up, tie-in, tie-up (“stoppage”), stand-in. These essentially are nouned phrasal verbs; some prepositional and phrasal verbs are in fact of American origin (spell out, figure out, hold up, brace up, size up, rope in, back up/off/down/out, step down, miss out on, kick around, cash in, rain out, check in and check out (in all senses), fill in (“inform”), kick in (“contribute”), square off, sock in, sock away, factor in/out, come down with, give up on, lay off (from employment), run into and across (“meet”), stop by, pass up, put up (money), set up (“frame”), trade in, pick up on, pick up after, lose out.

Noun endings such as -ee (retiree), -ery (bakery), -ster (gangster) and -cian (beautician) are also particularly productive. Some verbs ending in -ize are of U.S. origin; for example, fetishize, prioritize, burglarize, accessorize, itemize, editorialize, customize, notarize, weatherize, winterize, Mirandize; and so are some back-formations (locate, fine-tune, evolute, curate, donate, emote, upholster, peeve and enthuse). Among syntactical constructions that arose in the U.S. are as of (with dates and times), outside of, headed for, meet up with, back of, convince someone to…, not to be about to and lack for.

Americanisms formed by alteration of existing words include notably pesky, phony, rambunctious, pry (as in “pry open,” from prize), putter (verb), buddy, sundae, skeeter, sashay and kitty-corner. Adjectives that arose in the U.S. are for example, lengthy, bossy, cute and cutesy, grounded (of a child), punk (in all senses), sticky (of the weather), through (as in “through train,” or meaning “finished”), and many colloquial forms such as peppy or wacky. American blends include motel, guesstimate, infomercial and televangelist.

A number of words and meanings that originated in Middle English or Early Modern English and that always have been in everyday use in the United States dropped out in most varieties of British English; some of these have cognates in Lowland Scots. Terms such as  fall (“autumn”), pavement (to mean “road surface”, where in Britain, as in Philadelphia, it is the equivalent of “sidewalk”), faucet, diaper, candy, skillet, eyeglasses, crib (for a baby), obligate, and raise a child are often regarded as Americanisms. Fall for example came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    1. Regional peculiarities of American English

While written American English is standardized across the country, there are several recognizable variations in the spoken language, both in pronunciation and in vernacular vocabulary. General American is the name given to any American accent that is relatively free of noticeable regional influences.

After the Civil War, the settlement of the western territories by migrants from the Eastern U.S. led to dialect mixing and leveling, so that regional dialects are most strongly differentiated along the Eastern seaboard. The Connecticut River and Long Island Sound is usually regarded as the southern/western extent of New England speech, which has its roots in the speech of the Puritans from East Anglia who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Potomac River generally divides a group of Northern coastal dialects from the beginning of the Coastal Southern dialect area; in between these two rivers several local variations exist, chief among them the one that prevails in and around New York City and northern New Jersey, which developed on a Dutch substratum after the British conquered New Amsterdam. The main features of Coastal Southern speech can be traced to the speech of the English from the West Country who settled in Virginia after leaving England at the time of the English Civil War [2; 77].

Although no longer region-specific, African American Vernacular English, which remains prevalent among African Americans, has a close relationship to Southern varieties of American English and has greatly influenced everyday speech of many Americans.

A distinctive speech pattern also appears near the border between Canada and the United States, centered on the Great Lakes region (but only on the American side). This is the Inland North Dialect – the “standard Midwestern” speech that was the basis for General American in the mid-20th Century (although it has been recently modified by the northern cities vowel shift). Those not from this area frequently confuse it with the North Midland dialect treated below, referring to both collectively as “Midwestern” in the mid-Atlantic region or “Northern” in the Southern US. The so-called “Minnesotan” dialect is also prevalent in the cultural Upper Midwest, and is characterized by influences from the German and Scandinavian settlers of the region (yah for yes/ja in German, pronounced the same way).

In the interior, the situation is very different. West of the Appalachian Mountains begins the broad zone of what is generally called “Midland” speech. This is divided into two discrete subdivisions, the North Midland that begins north of the Ohio River valley area, and the South Midland speech; sometimes the former is designated simply “Midland” and the latter is reckoned as “Highland Southern.” The North Midland speech continues to expand westward until it becomes the closely related Western dialect which contains Pacific Northwest English as well as the well-known California English, although in the immediate San Francisco area some older speakers do not possess the cot-caught merger and thus retain the distinction between words such as cot and caught which reflects a historical Mid-Atlantic heritage.

The South Midland or Highland Southern dialect follows the Ohio River in a generally southwesterly direction, moves across Arkansas and Oklahoma west of the Mississippi, and peters out in West Texas. It is a version of the Midland speech that has assimilated some coastal Southern forms (outsiders often mistakenly believe South Midland speech and coastal South speech to be the same).

Finally, dialect development in the United States has been notably influenced by the distinctive speech of such important cultural centers as Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Charleston, New Orleans, New York City, and Detroit, which imposed their marks on the surrounding areas.

American English is a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States. Approximately two thirds of native speakers of English live in the United States. The use of English in the United States was inherited from British colonization. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century. During that time, there were also speakers in North America of Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Finnish, Russian (Alaska) and numerous Native American languages.

Compared to English as spoken in England, North American English is more homogeneous. Some distinctive accents can be found on the East Coast (for example, in Eastern New England and New York City), partly because these areas were in contact with England and imitated prestigious varieties of British English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes. In addition, many speech communities on the East Coast have existed in their present locations longer than others. The interior of the United States, however, was settled by people from all regions of the existing United States and therefore developed a far more generic linguistic pattern [2; 89].

Most North American speech is rhotic, as English was in most places in the 17th century. Rhoticity was further supported by Hiberno-English, West Country English and Scottish English as well as the fact most regions of England at this time also had rhotic accents. In most varieties of North American English, the sound corresponding to the letter r is a retroflex [r] or alveolar approximant [r] rather than a trill or a tap. The loss of syllable-final r in North America is confined mostly to the accents of eastern New England, New York City and surrounding areas and the coastal portions of the South, and African American Vernacular English. In rural tidewater Virginia and eastern New England, “r” is non-rhotic in accented (such as bird, work, first, birthday, etc.) as well as unaccented syllables, although this is declining among the younger generation of speakers. Dropping of syllable-final r sometimes happens in natively rhotic dialects if r is located in unaccented syllables or words and the next syllable or word begins in a consonant. In England, the lost r was often changed into [ə] (schwa), giving rise to a new class of falling diphthongs. Furthermore, the er sound of fur or butter, is realized in AmE as a monophthongal r-colored vowel (stressed [ɝ] or unstressed [ɚ] as represented in the IPA). This does not happen in the non-rhotic varieties of North American speech.

Some other English changes in which most North American dialects do not participate:

1) the shift of /æ/ to /ɑ/ (the so-called “broad A”) before /f/, /s/, /θ/, /ð/, /z/, /v/ alone or preceded by a homorganic nasal. This is the difference between the British Received Pronunciation and American pronunciation of bath and dance. In the United States, only eastern New England speakers took up this modification, although even there it is becoming increasingly rare.

2) the realization of intervocalic /t/ as a glottal stop [ʔ] (as in [bɒʔəl] for bottle). This change is not universal for British English and is not considered a feature of Received Pronunciation. This is not a property of most North American dialects. Newfoundland English is a notable exception.

On the other hand, North American English has undergone some sound changes not found in the standard varieties of English speech:

1) the merger of /ɑ/ and /ɒ/, making father and bother rhyme. This change is nearly universal in North American English, occurring almost everywhere except for parts of eastern New England, hence the Boston accent;

2) the merger of /ɒ/ and /ɔ/. This is the so-called cot-caught merger, where cot and caught are homophones. This change has occurred in eastern New England, in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, and from the Great Plains westward.

For speakers who do not merge caught and cot: The replacement of the cot vowel with the caught vowel before voiceless fricatives (as in cloth, off [which is found in some old-fashioned varieties of RP]), as well as before /ŋ/ (as in strong, long), usually in gone, often in on, and irregularly before /ɡ/ (log, hog, dog, fog [which is not found in British English at all]).

The replacement of the lot vowel with the strut vowel in most utterances of the words was, of, from, what and in many utterances of the words everybody, nobody, somebody, anybody; the word because has either /ʌ/ or /ɔ/; want has normally /ɔ/ or /ɑ/, sometimes /ʌ/.

Vowel merger before intervocalic /ɹ/. Which vowels are affected varies between dialects, but the Mary-marry-merry, nearer-mirror, and hurry-furry mergers are all widespread. Another such change is the laxing of /e/, /i/ and /u/ to /ɛ/, /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ before /ɹ/, causing pronunciations like [pɛɹ], [pɪɹ] and [pjʊɹ] for pair, peer and pure. The resulting sound [ʊɹ] is often further reduced to [ɝ], especially after palatals, so that cure, pure, mature and sure rhyme with fir.

Dropping of /j/ is more extensive than in RP. In most North American accents, /j/ is dropped after all alveolar and interdental consonant, so that new, duke, Tuesday, resume are pronounced /nu/, /duk/, /tuzdeɪ/, /ɹɪzum/.

Страницы:123следующая →
Описание работы
Everyone knows that Americans speak English differently than the British or Australians or even Canadians do, but most of the time we think of these differences in terms of the way we pronounce certain words (i.e., our accents). Most people also know that there are some differences that manifest themselves in written language as well as speech. But beyond calling some things by different names, there are many other peculiarities of American English in its phrasing and syntax that set it apart from other brands of the English language. There are also considerable semantic differences between British and American English. Usage not only differs but can be misleading.
Содержание
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………….... 2
CHAPTER 1. General characteristics of the American English language……...... 4
Lexical and semantic differences between British English and American English………………………………………………………………...……. 4
Regional peculiarities of American English…………………………........... 9
CHAPTER 2. Lexical and semantic peculiarities of American English in fiction……………………………………………………………..………...……. 19
2.1. Americanisms as structural component of the novel “Love Story” by Erich Segal…………………………………………………………………….....…….. 19
2.2. The functional role of American English in the novel……………………… 21
CONCLUSIONS……………………………………………...…………………. 24
BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………….…. 25