Are you hearin’ what we’re sayin’?

Beth Rigby has been called up on for the way she speaks. Oliver Kamm, one of her colleagues, was quick to defend her and said that regional accents need to be more apparent in our media. Regional accents are argued to be friendly, relatable and down to earth, so shouldn’t this be the case in our media? Individuals should take pride in the way they speak and the regional accents they have.

Don’t we all pay for the media? Therefore it makes sense that the media reflects us ALL and not just those who attended public schools. If all we heard was the Queen’s English, not that there’s anything wrong with it, I’m sure we would all get just a little bit bored. Where would we be if it wasn’t for listening to Christine Bleakley’s warm Northern Irish accent on our daily television?

Unfortunately, because of the minority of regional accents that we hear in the media, some of us are made to feel ‘excluded’ from society. This can be shown in a study that was out forward by Ives. The pedants of the English language need to take everyone into consideration because that is what makes society unique and shows a true representation of who we really are (and not just robots!).

Regional accents are part of who we are and people like Beth Rigby should feel proud of the accent she has and always will have! It’s utter nonsense taking the time to correct a regional accent. I say find something more useful and better to do with your time.

 

World Englishes

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Can we really have more than one English?

English is used as a first, second or foreign language by approximately 2 million people worldwide, however, it is not the most widely spoken language in the world. Current figures suggest that Mandarin is spoken as a native language by over 800 million speakers, Spanish by over 400 million and English is only approximately 300 million. So why is English used on such a global scale?

The difference between those who use it as a first or second language, is that the ones who are using it as a secondary language, have adapted it for their own use.

Kachru devised his  ‘Three Circles’ model in 1992, before the rise of the internet, and this has possibly affected how we see it.However, his model doesn’t address diversity of English’s and can be seen to suggest judgments about ‘better’ usage. Canadian English has both aspects of British English and American English, which reflects the influence of culture. The language has been heavily affected by English, American and French influences including spellings, phonology, lexis and grammar. Indian English is embedded into Indian life, culture and literature however when it comes to speech this is where it differs; in terms of phonology, for example Indian speakers have little distinction between /b/, /v/ and /w/.

 

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English as a lingua franca (ELF) refers to English being used as a common language among speakers who have different first languages. Jennifer Jenkins (2006) points to 5 characteristics of ELF:

  • Allowing communication among a range of people.
  • An alternative to English as a Foreign Language rather than a replacement for it.
  • Include innovations that might characterise local varieties of English as well as ‘correct’ English.
  • Useful in code-switching and linguistic accommodation.
  • Used for description for the purposes of possible codification.

 

Medalling with the English Language

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Text A is an online article taken from the Guardian with an audience that’s interested in language change. The Guardian readers are generally liberal and are well educated. It has a multimodal purpose in which its primary purpose is to inform its readers about language change and its secondary purpose is to discuss people’s views on it. This text also has a purpose to entertain  Firstly, David Marsh’s view on language change is a descriptivist approach and that he accepts language change. This can be identified straight away as the title of this article “Mind your language” is quite an informal imperative that is most commonly associated with bad language also known as taboo. It shows that he is possibly being sarcastic towards some people’s view of language change because some see language change as a bad thing and is not always the case in the eyes of David Marsh. David Marsh’s descriptivist view continues in his first paragraph which seems quite passive as he says “to the outrage provoked” he doesn’t know exactly who is provoked at this point, therefore by using the noun “outrage” it also adds a sarcastic and humorous tone. Marsh also uses a build-up of bathos by using alliteration “controversy continues…” and exaggeration which reflects the view that he has as he’s almost mocking people that are angered by language change. Within Text A David Marsh also makes reference to Aitchinson’s crumbling castle when he says “the linguistic barbarians are not only at the gates: they have battered their way through…” as the gates are protecting the castle which represents the English language that should not be changed according to some. By calling them “Barbarians” he is referring to them as the uneducated and the uncivilised because they don’t accept language change and actually see this as a ‘crumbling castle’ which in fact can be seen as a good thing according to David Marsh’s view.

Text B is taken from Roger Mosey’s Blog with an audience that takes an interest in sport as it’s from the BBC online sport page and this also has a multimodal purpose to inform and entertain its readers. This text differs from Text A as it takes a prescriptivist approach rather than descriptivist. Therefore straight away it’s going to take a much more negative approach to language change. In the first few sentences the verb “plea” is mentioned which shows that the view of language change is negative and they are almost begging for it to stay the same. Another way that the descriptivist view is shown is that a metaphor has being used “inflict cruelty” which also creates personification for the English language. It is being portrayed that cruelty is being inflicted on the English language when being changed. Therefore seen as a bad thing which can link with Aitchinson’s crumbling castle because this text takes the approach that the language is crumbling due to the change and should be kept preserved. This is similar to text A in which some people see the language as a castle but also differs at the same time because this text sees the crumbling as a bad thing whereas in text A David Marsh sees it as a good thing. This idea is expanded further in text B when Roger Mosey says “But good use of language should be the hallmark of sports journalism and commentary just as it is for all broadcasting”. When he says “good use” this refers to Makinnon’s opposite theory in which one of them says that language can be correct or incorrect, therefore there can be good and bad ways to use the English language.

Text C is also a blog but is by the editor of Oxford dictionaries therefore will have an audience that are interested in the English language and has a purpose to entertain and also to inform. This text is similar to Text A in the way that they both take a descriptivist approach. This text takes a more obvious descriptivist approach as it’s a dictionary therefore will understand language change a lot more than an online newspaper article as it specialises in new words and also the fact that they will want to sell their dictionaries so will actually want language change to happen. Just like Text A it’s fairly obvious what the tone of the text will be because of its title. In this blog the title “Meddling with nouns: who’s medalling now?” shows straight away that its approach is humorous as it uses a homophone of the word ‘meddling and medalling’ and puts it into a rhetorical question. The blog also makes reference to a Californian newspaper that uses  the verb ‘to medal’ in 1966 which tells us that it’s not actually a new word  and it’s in fact been around for a long time, it just spikes at different points. For example, when the Olympics take place, it is shown that this verb is used a lot more commonly because it’s more appropriate

Apostrophes. Should we use them?

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Who would have thought that there would be so much debate about apostrophes?  The issue of banning them arose after Birmingham city council decided to abolish  the use of apostrophes on street signs. The council said the move had been taken for the purposes of consistency and to avoid costs and confusion over whether place names should ever take an apostrophe.

Who agrees with this statement?

This is a controversial issue, therefore there are two sides; some people think we should use them and others disagree. The reasons for those who do say that

  1. apostrophes indicate missing letters in the middle of words/phrases e.g don’t the missing letter is the ‘o’ ‘do not’
  2. educate society
  3. children may start to become confused – what they learn in class and what they see in the streets will be different

reasons why we should ban apostrophes:

  1. can be confusing
  2. only make a very small difference – don’t have much of an impact
  3. all words are pronounced the same regardless of the apostrophe

Personally I think that we need apostrophes. First of all you can’t just change the rules now as this will create the most confusion. People for many years have been using the apostrophe so even if it was abolished people are still going to continue to use it. Secondly, children will fail to understand the meanings of basic words which could effect them later in life. Last but not least I think it would be ridiculous to stop using apostrophes full stop just because of the council being too lazy to add them onto street signs.