Talk:English language

Latest comment: 3 days ago by in topic Guyana and Jamaica
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Content moved from the phonology section edit

Regional variation in consonants edit

There are significant dialectal variations in the pronunciation of several consonants:

  • The th sounds /θ/ and /ð/ are sometimes pronounced as /f/ and /v/ in Cockney, and as dental plosives (contrasting with the usual alveolar plosives) in some dialects of Irish English. In African American Vernacular English, /ð/ has is realized as [d] word initially, and as [v] syllable medially.
  • In North American and Australian English, /t/ and /d/ are pronounced as an alveolar flap [ɾ] in many positions between vowels: thus words like latter and ladder /læɾər/ are pronounced in the same way. This sound change is called intervocalic alveolar flapping, and is a type of rhotacism. /t/ is often pronounced as a glottal stop [ʔ] (t-glottalization, a form of debuccalization) after vowels in British English, as in butter /ˈbʌʔə/, and in other dialects before a nasal, as in button /ˈbʌʔən/.
  • In most dialects, the rhotic consonant /r/ is pronounced as an alveolar, postalveolar, or retroflex approximant ɹ̠ ɻ], and often causes vowel changes or is elided (see below), but in Scottish it may be a flap or trill r].
  • In some cases, the palatal approximant or semivowel /j/, especially in the diphthong /juː/, is elided or causes consonant changes (yod-dropping and yod-coalescence).
    • Through yod-dropping, historical /j/ in the diphthong /juː/ is lost. In both RP and GA, yod-dropping happens in words like chew /ˈtʃuː/, and frequently in suit /ˈsuːt/, historically /ˈtʃju ˈsjuːt/. In words like tune, dew, new /ˈtjuːn ˈdjuː ˈnjuː/, RP keeps /j/, but GA drops it, so that these words have the vowels of too, do, and noon /ˈtuː ˈduː ˈnuːn/ in GA. A few conservative dialects like Welsh English have less yod-dropping than RP and GA, so that chews and choose /ˈtʃɪuz ˈtʃuːz/ are distinguished, and Norfolk English has more, so that beauty /ˈbjuːti/ is pronounced like booty /ˈbuːti/.
    • Through yod-coalescence, alveolar stops and fricatives /t d s z/ are palatalized and change to postalveolar affricates or fricatives /tʃ ʃ ʒ/ before historical /j/. In GA and traditional RP, this only happens in unstressed syllables, as in education, nature, and measure /ˌɛd͡ʒʊˈkeɪʃən ˈneɪt͡ʃər ˈmɛʒər/. In other dialects, such as modern RP or Australian, it happens in stressed syllables: thus due and dew are pronounced like Jew /ˈdʒuː/. In colloquial speech, it happens in phrases like did you? /dɪdʒuː/."

Regional variation edit

The pronunciation of some vowels varies between dialects:

  • In conservative RP and in GA, the vowel of back is a near-open [æ], but in modern RP and some North American dialects it is open [a]. The vowel of words like bath is /æ/ in GA, but /ɑː/ in RP (trap–bath split). In some dialects, /æ/ sometimes or always changes to a long vowel or diphthong, like [æː] or [eə] (bad–lad split and /æ/ tensing): thus man /mæn/ is pronounced with a diphthong like [meən] in many North American dialects.
  • The RP vowel /ɒ/ corresponds to /ɑ/ (father–bother merger) or /ɔ/ (lot–cloth split) in GA. Thus box is RP /bɒks/ but GA /bɑks/, while cloth is RP /klɒθ/ but GA /klɔθ/. Some North American dialects merge /ɔ/ with /ɑ/, except before /r/ (cot–caught merger).
  • In Scottish, Irish and Northern English, and in some dialects of North American English, the diphthongs /eɪ/ and /əʊ/ (/oʊ/) are pronounced as monophthongs (monophthongization). Thus, day and no are pronounced as /ˈdeɪ ˈnəʊ/ in RP, but as [ˈdeː ˈnoː] or [ˈde ˈno] in other dialects.
  • In North American English, the diphthongs /aɪ aʊ/ sometimes undergo a vowel shift called Canadian raising. This sound change affects the first element of the diphthong, and raises it from open [a], similar to the vowel of bra, to near-open [ʌ], similar to the vowel of but. Thus ice and out [ˈʌɪs ˈʌʊt] are pronounced with different vowels from eyes and loud [ˈaɪz ˈlaʊd]. Raising of /aɪ/ sometimes occurs in GA, but raising of /aʊ/ mainly occurs in Canadian English.

GA and RP vary in their pronunciation of historical /r/ after a vowel at the end of a syllable (in the syllable coda). GA is a rhotic dialect, meaning that it pronounces /r/ at the end of a syllable, but RP is non-rhotic, meaning that it loses /r/ in that position. English dialects are classified as rhotic or non-rhotic depending on whether they elide /r/ like RP or keep it like GA.

In GA, the combination of a vowel and the letter ⟨r⟩ is pronounced as an r-coloured vowel in nurse and butter [ˈnɝs ˈbʌtɚ], and as a vowel and an approximant in car and four [ˈkɑɹ ˈfɔɹ].

In RP, the combination of a vowel and ⟨r⟩ at the end of a syllable is pronounced in various different ways. When stressed, it was once pronounced as a centering diphthong ending in [ə], a sound change known as breaking or diphthongization, but nowadays is usually pronounced as a long vowel (compensatory lengthening). Thus nurse, car, four [ˈnɜːs ˈkɑː ˈfɔː] have long vowels, and car and four have the same vowels as bath and paw [ˈbɑːθ ˈpɔː]. An unstressed ⟨er⟩ is pronounced as a schwa, so that butter ends in the same vowel as comma: [ˈbʌtə ˈkɒmə].

Many vowel shifts only affect vowels before historical /r/, and in most cases they reduce the number of vowels that are distinguished before /r/:

  • Several historically distinct vowels are reduced to /ɜ/ before /r/. In Scottish English, fern, fir, and fur [fɛrn fɪr fʌr] are pronounced differently and have the same vowels as bed, bid, and but, but in GA and RP they are all pronounced with the vowel of bird: /ˈfɝn ˈfɝ/, /ˈfɜːn ˈfɜː/ (fern–fir–fur merger). Similarly, the vowels of hurry and furry /ˈhʌri ˈfɜri/, cure and fir /ˈkjuːr ˈfɜr/ were historically distinct and are still distinct in RP, but are often merged in GA (hurry–furry and cure–fir mergers).
  • Some sets of tense and lax or long and short vowels merge before /r/. Historically, nearer and mirror /ˈniːrər ˈmɪrər/; Mary, marry, and merry /ˈmɛɪɹi ˈmæri ˈmɛri/; hoarse and horse /ˈhoːrs ˈhɔrs/ were pronounced differently and had the same vowels as need and bid; bay, back, and bed; road and paw, but in some dialects their vowels have merged and are pronounced in the same way (mirror–nearer, Mary–marry–merry, and horse–hoarse mergers).
  • In traditional GA and RP, poor /pʊr/ or /pʊə/ is pronounced differently from pour /pɔr/ or /pɔə/ and has the same vowel as good, but for many speakers in North America and southern England, poor is pronounced with the same vowel as pour (poor–pour merger).

Highly incorrect map for english mandatory subject - Democratic People's Republic of Korea/source needed edit

Well, I am korean and there is no way in hell that english is mandatory in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The map does not seem to have any source. Are you sure that english is mandatory in North Korea, China, and all of the countries that are in blue? Jishiboka1 (talk) 02:52, 5 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The source is a publication from the University of Winnepeg. [1] It has a map, and clicking on DPRK provides: "Year of primary source: 2016. Mandatory grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11" The article describes "blue" countries as "where English is a mandatory element of the national education policy concerning public education". Poking around the site, I found a table of links to their sources.[2] Unfortunately they are kept in a dropbox which requires a login to access. They do give an email address if you have difficulty reading the files, though. signed, Willondon (talk) 03:33, 5 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Semi-protected edit request on 28 May 2023 edit

Sample text section should use blockquote markup instead of description lists. See WP:DLIST and WP:BLOCKQUOTE. (talk) 22:42, 28 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  Done Actualcpscm (talk) 07:05, 29 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American spellings edit

Why can’t this page have American spellings Theobegley2013 (talk) 20:36, 8 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Theobegley2013, please see WP:ENGVAR. -- Hoary (talk) 22:34, 11 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The earliest versions of this article used British English. --00:38, 20 October 2023 (UTC)

Why did the lede get gimped? edit

Seriously look how much more informative it was a few months ago. Somarain (talk) 22:47, 22 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Somarain: A lot of that went into the History section, as the lead section was becoming overcrowded. Wolfdog (talk) 11:55, 21 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dialects vs languages edit

Wouldn't you guys consider Central American and Carribean languages to be their own language, rather than a dialect? Take for example, Jamaican. I believe this language falls under dialects in this article, but it is considered its own language. I probably sound like an idiot, but please take this into consideration. Von Speck (talk) 21:45, 5 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I sense some confusion between Jamaican English and Jamaican creole, which are two separate things, both mentioned in the article. (see the topic below, as well) signed, Willondon (talk) 17:08, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Guyana and Jamaica edit

Guyana and Jamaica are both English speaking - quite so. Local creole are also decidedly English dialects which rely heavily on old English - and far easier to understand than, say, Cockney. English is the native tongue and official language in Guyana and Jamaica of books, press, tv and government. To state otherwise is to demand that native English speakers fit some artificially and quite possibly racist rule regarding geographic place or 'acceptable' dialect. For a long time the French Academy rejected Quebecois as French. Wikipedia shouldn't be committing a similar error here in separating "lesser" people from recognition of speaking their own claimed native language. (talk) 16:44, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't see where the article runs afoul of this advice. Guyana is not mentioned. Jamaica is mentioned a number of times: (1) the infobox list of dialects, including "Jamaican", "American", "British"; (2) where it is described as an "outer circle country" that has a "much smaller proportion [than other groups in the model] of native speakers of English but much use of English as a second language for education, government, or domestic business, and its routine use for school instruction and official interactions with the government"; (3) where it says "The most prominent varieties are Jamaican English and Jamaican Creole." Perhaps you are conflating what the article says about Jamaican creole, and the Jamaican flavour of English. signed, Willondon (talk) 17:04, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not mentioning Guyana - the only native English speaking nation in South America - is a vast encyclopedic oversight by any measure. And Jamaican creole is a dialect somewhat distinguished by not using the “th” sound and not pronouncing the “h” sound in the beginning of a Standard English word. It is English and written as so in all of the local daily newspapers. By what standard do we discriminate against Guyana and Jamaica in denying them of their own domestic claims of English as their native language?
Both Guyana and Jamacia should be listed in this article under the heading, "Countries and territories where English is the native language of the majority. (talk) 18:43, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are a few lists linked to (one in "See also"), but none currently in the article (or encyclopedia) specifically list where English is "the native language of the majority". The Jamaican Patois article says "Jamaican Creole exists in gradations between more conservative creole forms that are not significantly mutually intelligible with English, and forms virtually identical to Standard English." So where I read this article as referring to two distinct things (Jamaican Patois, and Jamaican English), that article seems to be describing a continuum. Bottom line, I don't see where there is any discrimination or denying going on here. signed, Willondon (talk) 19:17, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Guyana is not mentioned. Not mentioning Guyana - the only native English speaking nation in South America - is a vast encyclopedic oversight by any measure. Neither Jamaica nor Guyana are recognized as nations that are native language English speakers. Why? (talk) 23:27, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]