Chirchik state pedagogical institute of tashkent region the faculty of history and languages the department of foreign languages



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What is a standard English?

Standard English -- the official language of Great Britain taught at schools and universities, used by the press, the radio and the television and spoken by educated people may be defined as that form of English which is current and literary, substantially uniform and recognised as acceptable wherever English is spoken or understood.

Standard English is simply one variety of English among many. It is a sub-variety of English. Sub-varieties of languages are usually referred to as dialects, and languages are often described as consisting of dialects. As a named dialect, like Cockney, or Scouse, or Yorkshire, it is entirely normal that we should spell the name of the Standard English dialect with capital letters.

Standard English is a purely social dialect. Because of its unusual history and its extreme sociological importance, it is no longer a geographical dialect, even if we can tell that its origins were originally in the southeast of England. It is true that, in the English-speaking world as a whole, it comes in a number of different forms, so that we can talk, if we wish to for some particular purpose, of Scottish Standard English, or American Standard English, or English Standard English. And even in England we can note that there is a small amount of geographical variation at least in spoken Standard English, such as the different tendencies in different parts of the country to employ contractions such as He's not as opposed to he hasn't. But the most salient sociolinguistic characteristic of Standard English is that it is a social dialect.

Historically, we can say that Standard English was selected (though of course, unlike many other languages, not by any overt or conscious decision) as the variety to become the standard variety precisely because it was the variety associated with the social group with the highest degree of power, wealth and prestige. Subsequent developments have reinforced its social character: the fact that it has been employed as the dialect of an education to which pupils, especially in earlier centuries, have had differential access depending on their social class background.

The English language exists in the form of its varieties. It is the national language of England proper, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and some part of Canada.

Standard English — the official language of Great Britain taught at schools and universities, used by the press, the radio and the television and spoken by educated people may be defined as that form of English which is current and literary, substantially uniform and recognised as acceptable wherever English is spoken or understood. Modern linguistics distinguishes territorial variants of a national language and local dialects. Variants of a language are regional varieties of a standard literary language characterised by some minor peculiarities in the sound system, vocabulary and grammar and by their own literary norms. Dialects are varieties of a language used as a means of oral communication in small localities, they are set off from other varieties by some distinctive features of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. The most marked difference between dialects and regional variants in the field of phonetics lies in the fact that dialects possess phonemic distinctions, while regional variants are characterised by phonetic distinctions. In matters of vocabulary and grammar the difference is in the greater number and greater diversity of local peculiarities in the dialects as compared with the regional variants. In the British Isles there exist many speech varieties confined to particular areas. These local dialects traceable to Old English dialects may be classified into six distinct divisions: 1) Lowland (Scottish or Scotch, North of the river Tweed),1 2) Northern (between the rivers Tweed and Humber), 3) Western, 4) Midland and 5) Eastern (between the river Humber and the Thames), 6) Southern (South of the Thames). Their sphere of application is confined to the oral speech of the rural population in a locality and only the Scottish dialect can be said to have a literature of its own with Robert Burns as its greatest representative.

Since BE, AE and AuE have essentially the same grammar system, phonetic system and vocabulary, they cannot be regarded as different languages. Nor can they be referred to local dialects; because they serve all spheres of verbal communication in society, within their territorial area they have dialectal differences of their own; besides they differ far less than local dialects.

Another consideration is that AE has its own literary norm and AuE is developing one. Thus we must speak of three variants of the English national language having different accepted literary standards, one spoken in the British Isles, another spoken in the USA, the third in Australia. Canadian English is influenced both by British and American English but it also has some specific features of its own. Specifically Canadian words are called Canadianisms. there are Australian English, Canadian English, Indian English. Each of these has developed a literature of its own, and is characterised by peculiarities in phonetics, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.

The main lexical differences between the variants are caused by the lack of equivalent lexical units in one of them, divergences in the semantic structures of polysemantic words and peculiarities of usage of some words on different territories. Local variations in the USA are relatively small. What is called by tradition American dialects is closer in nature to regional variants of the national literary language.


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