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British English (BrE) or UK English is the standard dialect of the English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom.Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland, North East England, Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas the adjective little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken and so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".
Colloquial portmanteau words for British English include: Bringlish (recorded from 1967), Britglish (1973), Britlish (1976), Brenglish (1993) and Brilish (2011).
English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the northern Netherlands. The resident population at this time was generally speaking Common Brittonic—the insular variety of continental Celtic, which was influenced by the Roman occupation. This group of languages (Welsh, Cornish, Cumbric) cohabited alongside English into the modern period, but due to their remoteness from the Germanic languages, influence on English was notably limited. However, the degree of influence remains debated, and it has recently been argued that its grammatical influence accounts for the substantial innovations noted between English and the other West Germanic languages.
Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England. One of these dialects, Late West Saxon, eventually came to dominate. The original Old English language was then influenced by two waves of invasion: the first was by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic family, who settled in parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries; the second was the Normans in the 11th century, who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. These two invasions caused English to become "mixed" to some degree (though it was never a truly mixed language in the strictest sense of the word; mixed languages arise from the cohabitation of speakers of different languages, who develop a hybrid tongue for basic communication).
The more idiomatic, concrete and descriptive English is, the more it is from Anglo-Saxon origins. The more intellectual and abstract English is, the more it contains Latin and French influences e.g. swine (like the Germanic schwein) is the animal in the field bred by the occupied Anglo-Saxons and pork (like the French porc) is the animal at the table eaten by the occupying Normans.Another example is the Anglo-Saxon ‘cu’ meaning cow, and the French ‘bœf’ meaning beef.
Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the grafting onto that Germanic core of a more elaborate layer of words from the Romance branch of the European languages. This Norman influence entered English largely through the courts and government. Thus, English developed into a "borrowing" language of great flexibility and with a huge vocabulary.
Dialects and accents vary amongst the four countries of the United Kingdom, as well as within the countries themselves.
The major divisions are normally classified as English English (or English as spoken in England, which encompasses Southern English dialects, West Country dialects, East and West Midlands English dialects and Northern English dialects), Ulster English (in Northern Ireland), Welsh English (not to be confused with the Welsh language), and Scottish English (not to be confused with the Scots language or Scottish Gaelic language). The various British dialects also differ in the words that they have borrowed from other languages. Around the middle of the 15th century, there were points where within the 5 major dialects there were almost 500 ways to spell the word though.
Following its last major survey of English Dialects (1949–1950), the University of Leeds has started work on a new project. In May 2007 the Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded a grant to Leeds to study British regional dialects.
The team aresifting through a large collection of examples of regional slang words and phrases turned up by the "Voices project" run by the BBC, in which they invited the public to send in examples of English still spoken throughout the country. The BBC Voices project also collected hundreds of news articles about how the British speak English from swearing through to items on language schools. This information will also be collated and analysed by Johnson's team both for content and for where it was reported. "Perhaps the most remarkable finding in the Voices study is that the English language is as diverse as ever, despite our increased mobility and constant exposure to other accents and dialects through TV and radio". When discussing the award of the grant in 2007, Leeds University stated:
that they were "very pleased"—and indeed, "well chuffed"—at receiving their generous grant. He could, of course, have been "bostin" if he had come from the Black Country, or if he was a Scouser he would have been well "made up" over so many spondoolicks, because as a Geordie might say, £460,000 is a "canny load of chink".
Most people in Britain speak with a regional accent or dialect. However, about 2% of Britons speak with an accent called Received Pronunciation(also called "the Queen's English", "Oxford English" and "BBC English" ), that is essentially region-less. It derives from a mixture of the Midlands and Southern dialects spoken in London in the early modern period. It is frequently used as a model for teaching English to foreign learners.
In the South East there are significantly different accents; the Cockney accent spoken by some East Londoners is strikingly different from Received Pronunciation (RP). The Cockney rhyming slang can be (and was initially intended to be) difficult for outsiders to understand,although the extent of its use is often somewhat exaggerated.
Estuary English has been gaining prominence in recent decades: it has some features of RP and some of Cockney. In London itself, the broad local accent is still changing, partly influenced by Caribbean speech. Immigrants to the UK in recent decades have brought many more languages to the country. Surveys started in 1979 by the Inner London Education Authority discovered over 100 languages being spoken domestically by the families of the inner city's schoolchildren. As a result, Londoners speak with a mixture of accents, depending on ethnicity, neighbourhood, class, age, upbringing, and sundry other factors.[ citation needed ]
Since the mass internal migration to Northamptonshire in the 1940s and given its position between several major accent regions, it has become a source of various accent developments. In Northampton the older accent has been influenced by overspill Londoners. There is an accent known locally as the Kettering accent, which is a transitional accent between the East Midlands and East Anglian. It is the last southern Midlands accent to use the broad "a" in words like bath/grass (i.e. barth/grarss). Conversely crass/plastic use a slender "a". A few miles northwest in Leicestershire the slender "a" becomes more widespread generally. In the town of Corby, five miles (8 km) north, one can find Corbyite which, unlike the Kettering accent, is largely influenced by the West Scottish accent.
In addition, many British people can to some degree temporarily "swing" their accent towards a more neutral form of English at will, to reduce difficulty where very different accents are involved, or when speaking to foreigners.[ citation needed ]
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Phonological features characteristic of British English revolve around the pronunciation of the letter R, as well as the dental plosive T and some diphthongs specific to this dialect.
Once regarded as a Cockney feature, in a number of forms of spoken British English, /t/ has become commonly realised as a glottal stop [ʔ] when it is in the intervocalic position, in a process called T-glottalisation. National media, being based in London, have seen the glottal stop spreading more widely than it once was in word endings, not being heard a no[ʔ]. It is still stigmatised when used at the beginning and central positions, such as later, while often has all but regained /t/ . Other consonants subject to this usage in Cockney English are p, as in pa[ʔ]er and k as in ba[ʔ]er.
In most areas of England, outside the West Country and other near-by counties of the UK, the consonant R is not pronounced if not followed by a vowel, lengthening the preceding vowel instead. This phenomenon is known as non-rhoticity. In these same areas, a tendency exists to insert an R between a word ending in a vowel and a next word beginning with a vowel. This is called the intrusive R. It could be understood as a merger, in that words that once ended in an R and words that did not are no longer treated differently. This is also due to London-centric influences. Examples of R-dropping are car and sugar, where the R is not pronounced.
British dialects differ on the extent of diphthongisation of long vowels, with southern varieties extensively turning them into diphthongs, and with northern dialects normally preserving many of them. As a comparison, North American varieties could be said to be in-between.
Long vowels /iː/ and /uː/ are usually preserved, and in several areas also /oː/ and /eː/, as in go and say (unlike other varieties of English, that change them to [oʊ] and [eɪ] respectively). Some areas go as far as not diphthongising medieval /iː/ and /uː/, that give rise to modern /aɪ/ and /aʊ/; that is, for example, in the traditional accent of Newcastle upon Tyne, 'out' will sound as 'oot', and in parts of Scotland and North-West England, 'my' will be pronounced as 'me'.
Long vowels /iː/ and /uː/ are diphthongised to [ɪi] and [ʊu] respectively (or, more technically, [ʏʉ], with a raised tongue), so that ee and oo in feed and food are pronounced with a movement. The diphthong [oʊ] is also pronounced with a greater movement, normally [əʊ], [əʉ] or [əɨ].
Dropping a morphological grammatical number, in collective nouns, is stronger in British English than North American English.This is to treat them as plural when once grammatically singular, a perceived natural number prevails, especially when applying to institutional nouns and groups of people.
The noun 'police', for example, undergoes this treatment:
Police are investigating the theft of work tools worth £500 from a van at the Sprucefield park and ride car park in Lisburn.
A football team can be treated likewise:
Arsenal have lost just one of 20 home Premier League matches against Manchester City.
This tendency can be observed in texts produced already in the 19th century. For example, Jane Austen, a British author, writes in Chapter 4 of Pride and Prejudice , published in 1813:
All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes.
However, in Chapter 16, the grammatical number is used.
The world is blinded by his fortune and consequence.
Some dialects of British English use negative concords, also known as double negatives. Rather than changing a word or using a positive, words like nobody, not, nothing, and never would be used in the same sentence.While this does not occur in Standard English, it does occur in non-standard dialects. The double negation follows the idea of two different morphemes, one that causes the double negation, and one that is used for the point or the verb.
As with English around the world, the English language as used in the United Kingdom is governed by convention rather than formal code: there is no body equivalent to the Académie Française or the Real Academia Española. Dictionaries (for example, the Oxford English Dictionary , the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English , the Chambers Dictionary , and the Collins Dictionary ) record usage rather than attempting to prescribe it.In addition, vocabulary and usage change with time: words are freely borrowed from other languages and other strains of English, and neologisms are frequent.
For historical reasons dating back to the rise of London in the 9th century, the form of language spoken in London and the East Midlands became standard English within the Court, and ultimately became the basis for generally accepted use in the law, government, literature and education in Britain. The standardisation of British English is thought to be from both dialect levelling and a thought of social superiority. Speaking in the Standard dialect created class distinctions; those who did not speak the standard English would be considered of a lesser class or social status and often discounted or considered of a low intelligence.Another contribution to the standardisation of British English was the introduction of the printing press to England in the mid-15th century. In doing so, William Caxton enabled a common language and spelling to be dispersed among the entirety of England at a much faster rate.
Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) was a large step in the English-language spelling reform, where the purification of language focused on standardising both speech and spelling.By the early 20th century, British authors had produced numerous books intended as guides to English grammar and usage, a few of which achieved sufficient acclaim to have remained in print for long periods and to have been reissued in new editions after some decades. These include, most notably of all, Fowler's Modern English Usage and The Complete Plain Words by Sir Ernest Gowers.
Detailed guidance on many aspects of writing British English for publication is included in style guides issued by various publishers including The Times newspaper, the Oxford University Press and the Cambridge University Press . The Oxford University Press guidelines were originally drafted as a single broadsheet page by Horace Henry Hart, and were at the time (1893) the first guide of their type in English; they were gradually expanded and eventually published, first as Hart's Rules , and in 2002 as part of The Oxford Manual of Style. Comparable in authority and stature to The Chicago Manual of Style for published American English, the Oxford Manual is a fairly exhaustive standard for published British English that writers can turn to in the absence of specific guidance from their publishing house.
American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and in most circumstances is the de facto common language used in government, education, and commerce. Currently, American English is the most influential form of English worldwide.
The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family spoken natively by a population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe, North America, Oceania and Southern Africa. The most widely spoken Germanic language, English, is also the world's most widely spoken language with an estimated 2 billion speakers. All Germanic languages are derived from Proto-Germanic, spoken in Iron Age Scandinavia.
Hiberno-English or Irish English is the set of English dialects natively written and spoken within the island of Ireland.
Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is the conventional name to describe a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements and chronologically coincides with the Viking Age, the Christianization of Scandinavia and the consolidation of Scandinavian kingdoms from around the 7th to the 15th centuries.
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, since during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English in England and Early Scots in Scotland.
A Cockney is a certain type of Londoner. The term mainly refers to speakers of the distinctive Cockney dialect of English used in and around London, particularly by the working and lower-middle classes; especially people from the East End, or, traditionally, people born within earshot of Bow Bells.
Middle English was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period when Middle English was spoken as being from 1150 to 1500. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.
Indian English (IE) is a class of varieties of the English language spoken in India, and among the Indian diaspora elsewhere in the world. English is used by the Indian government for communication along with Hindi, as enshrined in the Constitution. English is an official language of 7 states and 5 Union Territories and also additional official language of 7 states and 1 Union Territory. English is also the sole official language of the Judiciary of India, unless a state governor or legislature mandates the use of a regional language, or the president has given approval for the use of regional languages in courts.
Scottish English is the set of varieties of the English language spoken in Scotland. The transregional, standardised variety is called Scottish Standard English or Standard Scottish English (SSE). Scottish Standard English may be defined as "the characteristic speech of the professional class [in Scotland] and the accepted norm in schools". IETF language tag for "Scottish Standard English" is en-scotland.
English is a West Germanic language that originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries AD by Anglo-Saxon migrants from what is now northwest Germany, southern Denmark and the Netherlands. The Anglo-Saxons settled in the British Isles from the mid-5th century and came to dominate the bulk of southern Great Britain. Their language, now called Old English, originated as a group of Anglo-Frisian dialects which were spoken, at least by the settlers, in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages, displacing the Celtic languages that had previously been dominant. Old English reflected the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms established in different parts of Britain. The Late West Saxon dialect eventually became dominant. A significant subsequent influence on the shaping of Old English came from contact with the North Germanic languages spoken by the Scandinavian Vikings who conquered and colonized parts of Britain during the 8th and 9th centuries, which led to much lexical borrowing and grammatical simplification. The Anglian dialects had a greater influence on Middle English.
West Country English is a group of English language varieties and accents used by much of the native population of South West England, the area sometimes popularly known as the West Country.
Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language and the earliest recorded form of Low German/Northern Low Saxon. It is a West Germanic language, closely related to the Anglo-Frisian languages. It is documented from the 8th century until the 12th century, when it gradually evolved into Middle Low German. It was spoken throughout modern northwestern Germany, primarily in the coastal regions and in the eastern Netherlands by Saxons, a Germanic tribe that inhabited the region of Saxony. It partially shares Anglo-Frisian's Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law which sets it apart from Low Franconian and Irminonic languages, such as Dutch, Luxembourgish and German.
In English, the digraph ⟨th⟩ represents in most cases one of two different phonemes: the voiced dental fricative and the voiceless dental fricative (thing). More rarely, it can stand for or the cluster (eighth). In compound words, ⟨th⟩ may be a consonant sequence rather than a digraph, as in the of lighthouse.
The English language in Northern England has been shaped by the region's history of settlement and migration, and today encompasses a group of related dialects known as Northern England English. Historically, the strongest influence on the varieties of the English language spoken in Northern England was the Northumbrian dialect of Old English, but contact with Old Norse during the Viking Age and with Irish English following the Great Famine have produced new and distinctive styles of speech. Some "Northern" traits can be found further south than others: only conservative Northumbrian dialects retain the pre-Great Vowel Shift pronunciation of words such as town, but all northern accents lack the FOOT–STRUT split, and this trait extends a significant distance into the Midlands.
English in southern England is the collective set of different dialects and accents of the English spoken in Southern England.
Old English phonology is necessarily somewhat speculative since Old English is preserved only as a written language. Nevertheless, there is a very large corpus of the language, and the orthography apparently indicates phonological alternations quite faithfully, so it is not difficult to draw certain conclusions about the nature of Old English phonology.
In English phonology, t-glottalization or t-glottalling is a sound change in certain English dialects and accents that causes the phoneme to be pronounced as the glottal stop (listen) in certain positions, particularly in accents of the United Kingdom. It is never universal, especially in careful speech, and it most often alternates with other allophones of such as [t] (help·info),, ,, or.
English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, originally spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula on the Baltic Sea which is not to be confused with East Anglia, the Eastern part of England which comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. English is most closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, while its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Old Norse, as well as by Old Norman, French and Latin.
The English language spoken and written in England encompasses a diverse range of accents and dialects. The dialect forms part of the broader British English, along with other varieties in the United Kingdom. Terms used to refer to the English language spoken and written in England include: English English and Anglo-English.
Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting most of the population of the Netherlands and about 60% of the population of Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.