Varieties of English

Varieties of English, Assignment 2

  1. Provide a 15 min. sketch of one of the perspectives which informs research on English varieties. You should sketch
    1. The background of the perspective, e.g. the influence of a first language on how well a second-language learner learns, what sorts of errors might be expected.
    2. The sorts of situations where one most expects to see the importance of the perspective, i.e. where it is most likely to explain things successfully.
    3. What research questions are asked
    4. What hypotheses are made, if any
    5. How a researcher might investigate linguistic features to pursue the perspective more closely.

    Here are some of the possible perspectives. They overlap to some extent.

    1. The second-language perspective. Szmrecsanyi and Kortmann's paper address contributes to this, to some extent.
    2. (Related to the above), the perspective of substrate-superstrate relations. This is also one perspective of "contact linguistics". How does this differ from the second-language perspective? Schneider's paper should be useful.
    3. The "seed" perspective (Fischer), i.e. detecting signals of which British varieties gave rise to the newer ones. This is developed in Shackleton's paper.
    4. (Related to the above), Mufwene's "founder's principle", the idea that very early varieties are most influential in colonial situations -- even when colonists arrive from different areas. (I don't have a digital copy of Mufwene's paper, but it's in Diachronica 1996.)