VOWEL VARIETIES OF SOME SPECIFIC ENGLISH DIALECTS

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VOWEL VARIETIES OF SOME SPECIFIC ENGLISH DIALECTS Powered By Docstoc
					                                  CHAPTER 2

                                 THE DIALECT



2.1. The Definition of Dialect

       How do people define the term ‘dialect’? It is known that any two people

surely have differences in their way of talking, though they are from the same

dialect area. I have tried to make a definition of dialect. For me, dialect is a way of

speaking in which people will find it hard to understand or hear what someone

else says even if it is his own language. A simple definition will say that dialect is

a various different forms of the same language. In common usage, a dialect is a

substandard, low status, often rustic form of language, generally associated with

the peasantry, the working class, or other groups lacking prestige. Charles W.

Kreidler (1995) explained that when people who have the same native language

can understand one another and at the same time notice consistent differences in

each other’s speech, it means that they speak different dialect of the same

language. From his statement, I concern at the words ‘consistent differences’. It

means that different dialects will produce the consistent differences. It can be said

that when there is only a little or inconsistent difference, there is no different

dialect. But it must not always true. We know that anything can be learned and

adopted. With a deep science and experiences, people will imitate or adopted

other’s language or dialect. It is easy to see that all speakers are the speakers of at

least one dialect. A standard English dialect, for example, is just as much a dialect

as any other form of English, and it does not make any kind of sense to suppose




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that any one dialect is in any way linguistically superior to any other (J.K.

Chambers and Peter Trudgill, 1980). It is clear that the definition of dialect

depends on a number of criteria, some overlapping, and inconsistency.



2.2. The Distinction between Dialect and Language

         In many situations, dialect is sufficient to describe various forms within

the same language. Dialect refers to strictly speaking, to differences between

kinds of language which have different vocabulary and grammar as well as

pronunciation (K.M. Petyt : 1980) . How different is the dialect from language?

The problem is that of deciding how different two forms can be before they are

held to be different languages rather than dialects. When dealing with related

languages (for example, English and German), it is reasonable to maintain that the

distinction between dialect and language is a ‘quantitative’ matter. For example,

Liverpudlian and Cockney are different in many ways, but not sufficiently

different to be called different languages, but they are different dialects. On the

other hand, English and German, though they were originally the same language

and though they have some similarities in sound pattern, grammar, vocabulary etc,

can not be called as dialects of saying them ‘Germanic’, they are too different.

         A more technical distinction between the dialect and language is that the

dialects are the varieties of different forms of the same language, while language

always involves at least one of its dialects, for example, the dialects of English are

Yorkshire, Berkshire, Cockney, New York, etc. However, two problems arise in

relation to such a definition. First is what is meant by ‘a different form of




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language’. There are different forms between people in Bradford and people

nearby rural area around Haworth, England. In Bradford, she is pronounced as

[ʃ i:] and house is pronounced Ɂ aʊs], while in Haworth, they are ʃu:] and
                               [                                  [

[Өa:s]. Then it is distinguished a virtually infinite number of ‘different forms’ of

any language, depending on what linguistic features that is focused on, and in how

much detail ( J.K. Chambers and Peter Trudgill : 1980 ). To take a further

example, in British English, some groups of people pronounce look with a long

vowel, while others with a short. But among the long-vowel forms we can

certainly distinguish [lu:k] from ɪə k] – and among those with [u:]-like vowels
                                  [l

we could distinguish [lu:k], [liu:k], [liuk], [lʊu:k] etc. And the various groups who

say [lʊu:k] will differ among themselves in the way thay pronounce other words;

and so on.

         This process leads to the speech of smaller and smaller groups, until it

ultimately reaches the speech of an individual. This is called the idiolect, and in

fact each idiolect differs in some details from every other. But somewhere it is

called that a halt to this concentration on differences, and decide that among a

certain group there is an important degree of linguistic unity – that its members

speak the same dialect. This term then implies both difference (from other groups

speaking the same language) and unity (with other individuals).



2.3. The Distinction between Dialect and Accent

       There is another term which is slightly different from dialect; the term is

‘accent’. As with ‘dialect’ and ‘language’, the distinction between ‘dialect’ and




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‘accent’ is not obvious as might at first appear. The two terms are sometimes used

interchangeably. For example, an eye witness referred on a private television to

his having ‘a local dialect or accent’. But many people would probably feel that

‘accent’ is a little more restricted term than ‘dialect’; in fact they would almost

certainly accept a distinction made by linguists. ‘Accent’ refers to the way in

which a speaker pronounces, and therefore refers to variety which is different

from other varieties. On the other hand, ‘dialect’ refers to varieties which are

grammatically different from other varieties (K.M Petyt). So if two speakers say,

respectively, I gone there yesterday, and another speaker says I went there

yesterday, we can say that they are speaking different dialects.

         It can be concluded that all matter of pronunciation are matters of accent,

whereas grammar and vocabulary must be also involved before we speak of

dialect. The distinction between dialect and accent is just like the distinction

between Standard English and RP (Received Pronunciation). Standard English

involves vocabulary, grammar, some phonology. RP is a prestige way of

speaking, based on the same upper-class dialect. RP now typifies the speech of

educated people. RP has been the form of English taught to foreigners wherever

British influences have been strong. For that all, less than 5 percent of the English

population speak it. So, the dialect could as the Standard English and accent

stands as the RP.

         Dialect differences are being continually observed from the day to the

day. Observations of dialect differences are so common that it is perhaps




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surprising to find that the major thrust toward studying dialects systematically

begins only in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

         Dialect is closely related to the vowels in English. Speakers of English

may have differences in specific words. It can be seen easily, for example, people

commonly failed to cite half, won’t, tomato correctly. What is probably failed to

recognize is that the differences are almost always in vowels. When considering

English vowels, it will be found that different dialects differ one and another. But

it is also possible that speakers of a language do not all make the same vowel

differences. Language is always changing and a change may happen in some

places, or among some groups of people, but may not happen everywhere

(Charles W. Kreidler).



2.4. Mutual Intelligibility

         What next are the criteria for deciding that linguistic differences should

count as differences of dialect or of language? Many people hold the essential

criterion to be that of mutual intelligibility: dialects are different but mutually

intelligible of speech. So if two speakers, though there are some differences in

their speech, can understand each other, they are using different dialects, while if

two speakers cannot understand each other, they are speaking different languages.

At first sight, it seems to accord with what we intuitively feel to be the distinction

between dialect and language ( Keraf Gorys : 1983 ).

         Mutual intelligibility may also not be equal in both directions. It is often

said, for instance, that German understand Englishman better than Englishman




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understand German. It may be due to more specifically linguistic factors. Mutual

intelligibility will also depend, it appears, on other factors such as listeners’

degree of exposure to the other language, their degree of education and their

willingness to understand ( Ayahtrohaedi :1995 ). It seems that people sometimes

do not understand because they do not want to at some level of consciousness.

         Thus mutual intelligibility requires a lot of shared vocabulary in spite of

some differences. Mutual intelligibility is not an all matter; there are also degrees

of comprehension between the speakers (K.M. Petyt). A Cockney and

Cornishman may understand each other very well, while a Geordie and

Cornishman may sometimes be in some difficulty. The lack of mutual

intelligibility could mean that there are differences of language rather than just of

dialect. If ‘W’ can just understand ‘Y’, but can not really understand ‘Z’, the

language division may come between ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ may understand

each other quite well, so mutual intelligibility could show that these are different

dialect rather than different language.




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