STUDENTS’ ACCESS TO LIVING VARIETIES
ENGLISH DEPT., FACULTY OF LETTERS
PETRA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
In the teaching of English , the mastery of English as a target
language is planned to be taking place smoothly in a foreign
To do so students of English are geared to master the new linguistic
systems and the new sets of behavior and ways of expression in
the target language
Contrastive analysis & error analysis render their service to enable
teaching-material developers as well classroom teachers for the
succesful teaching of English.
Language variation is natural part and parcel of the living language
students should also be introduced to language variation
Variation according to users may give way to language varieties such as
dialects, geographical or social dialect.
-postvocalic /r/ is closely related to a prestigous variety of English as
used by New Yorkers
- Broad Australian English
Variation according to use may give way to the language varieties used in
particular professions as found in such registers as journalese, legal
English, medical English
Another kind of variation, i.e. variation according to the degree
of formality of the context of situation recognized as sociolinguistic
styles (Patrick, 2004).
-Oprah Wimprey in her shows tend to use vowels close to Afro-
american vowels if her guests are Afro-american speakers.
Variation according to user Bernard Shaw’s
In the Greek myth, Pygmalion - a sculptor - carved a statue
of a very beautiful girl. So beautiful is his creation that the
sculptor himself falls in love with it. He prays to Aphrodite, the
goddess of love, requesting to bring the statue to life. Bernard
Shaw’s play is about Eliza as a girl of a lower-class background
as obvious from her manner of speaking. Professor Higgins
brushes up her speech so as to make her speak like a lady. Like
the Greek sculptor, Prof Higgins’ heart is kindled by his created
'Covent Garden' - 11.15p.m. A group of people are taking a shelter because of the the
heavy rain. Amongst them are Eynsford-Hills, consisting of mother and daughter, Clara.
Freddy Eynsford-Hill enters after being unable to find a cab to take them home. As he goes
off once again to find a cab, he bumps into a flower girl, Eliza. As a girld of poverty-
stricken social background she sells flowers in Covent Garden to survive. A gentleman,
Colonel Pickering comes across Eliza who tries to sell flowers to the Colonel. Meanwhile a
bystander informs her that a man is writing down everything she says. The man is
Professor Henry Higgins. The crowd get surprised as Higgins tells people where they were
born. One man accuses Higgins of coming from an asylum. It becomes apparent that he
and Colonel Pickering have a shared interest in phonetics. Higgins tells Pickering that he
could turn the flower girl into a lady. Eliza gets interested in the possibility of turning her
life and and manner to become a lady. Now let us see some of the dialogs showing the social
characteristics of the speakers :
1.The bystander’s speech : the use of double negatives, the negation using “aint”
and some peculiar pronunciation.
A bystander (on the lady’s right) : He wont get no cab not until half-past eleven,
missus, when they come back after dropping their theatre fares.
The Mother : But we must get a cab. We cant stand here until half-past eleven. It’s too bad.
The bystander : Well, it ain’t may fault, missus.
The Flower Girl’s speech : the use of peculiar vocabulary,
grammar or pronunciation, double negative and past
negation “aint + past participle”.
The Flower Girl : Garn ! Oh do buy a flower off me,
Captain. I can change half-a-crown. Take this for
The Bystander : (To the Girl) You be careful : give him a
flower for it. Theres a bloke here behind taking down
every blessed word youre saying.(All turn to the man who
is taking notes).
The Flower Girl : (Springing up terrified) I ain’t done
nothing wrong by speaking to the gentleman. Ive a right
to sell flowers if I keep off the kerb. (Hysterically) I’m a
respectable girl : so help me, I never spoke to him except
to ask him to buy a flower off me.
The Note Taker : You see this creature with her
kerbstone English : the English that will keep her in the
gutter to the end of her days ... .
... in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess
at an ambassador’s garden party. I could even get her a
place as lady’s maid or shop assistant, which requires a
The Flower Girl : What’s that you say ?
The taximan : Give it here. Tuppence extra.
Liza : I dont want nobody to see it. Goodbye, Freedy.
Freddy : Goodbye.
Taximan : Where to ?
Liza : BucknamPellis (Buckingham Palace).
Taximan : What d’ye mean – Bucknam Pellis ? ................................. Here ?
Whats this about Bucknam Pellis ? What business have you at Bucknam Pellis ?
Higgins' Laboratory -Next Day. While Higgins is demonstrating his scientific equipmentto
Pickering, his housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, tells him that a young girl wants to see him. Only to his
disappointment,she turns out to be Eliza. She urges him to give her lessons in order to make
her talk like a lady. Higgins claims that he could turn her a lady. Pickering makes a bet with him
on the claim and promises to pay for her lessons. She is sent off to have a bath. Mrs. Pearce
reminds Higgins that he must behave himself in the young girl's presence. If he is to teach Eliza
to speak and behave like a lady, he himselfmust stop swearing and mind his own manners.
Then Alfred Doolittle,Eliza's father, appears to solicit money from Higgins. He is illustrated as
a man coming from a lower and uneducated social background.Higginstells Pickering that
they really have got a difficultjob on their hands.
Higgins : Why, this is the girl I jotted down last night. She’s no use :
I’ve got all the records I want of the Lisson Grove lingo ...
The Flower Girl : Good enough for ye-oo. Now you know, dont you ?
I’ve come to have lessons, I am. And to pay for em te-oo: make no
I want to be a lady in a f lower shop stead of selling at the corner of
Tottenham Court Road. But they wont take me unless I can talk more
genteel. He said he could teach me. Well, here I am ready to pay him
– not asking any favor – and he treats me zif I was dirt.
Liza : I didnt want no clothes. I wouldnt have taken them. I can buy
my own clothes.
Carter and his colleagues (2007 : 67) state that the use
of corpora of spoken English in the materials
development will allow learners of English to become
more aware of a wider range of forms and structures.
Variation according to use
Register is the type of language variation that is determined by the
nature of activity in which language is functioning ( Halliday &
Hasan, 1985 : p. 43).
The following text that is obvious in terms of the use of the simple present
tense to express general truth and particular vocabulary of specific area of
interest may be identified as part of scientific register in English :
There are different temperature scales in use. The one used in all
scientific work is the centigrade scale, on which the temperature of melting
ice is called 0 C. (C. standing for centigrade), and the temperature of
water boiling at standard pressure is called 100 C. The space on the stem
between 0 C. and 100 C. is divided into a hundred equal divisions.
Register variation is commonly found in the types of English such as
legalese, journalese, baby-talks, etc. This type of variation may also be
obvious in terms of vocabulary and grammar.
We hear much about this type in the context of teaching our students
of the so-called ESP, English for Specific Purposes, for instance English
for Banking, English for medical students, et
Robinsons (1994) notes from the perspective of English for specific
purposes, that the materials development in the teaching of English
should make good use of authentic materials that can be anything
available such as the use of print, audio, video and pictorial materials
The second type of variation is the kind of language variation
attributable to different degree of formality in the context of situation
Styles (Joos) : Frozen style Informal style
Formal style Casual style
Consultative style Intimate style
the use of weak forms and syntactic deletion/reduction
Those sons-of-bitches over there ain’t buying. Every yards gets
‘em. They’re lookers. (…) Spend all their time looking. (…) Don’t
want to buy no cars; (…) take up your time. Don’t give a damn for
your time. Over there, them two people – no, with the kids. Get
‘em in a car. Start ‘em at two hundred and work down. They
look good for one and a quarter. Get ‘em rolling. Get ‘em out in
a jalopy. Sock it to ‘em ! They took our time (p.66)
And the driver said,” (…) Can’t think of that.(…) Got to think of my own kids … .
(…) Can’t make a living on the land unless you’ve got two, five, ten thousand acres
and a tractor. (p.39)
To bring home the point I make earlier I have no doubt to encourage
language teachers and materials developers in order to bring our students of
English to have more access to living varieties of English. Our students’
familiarity with the living varieties of English as presented in a wider range of
forms and structures of English will supposedly assist them to cope with their