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The dynamic Model of postcolonial Englishes

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hieronymus jacker

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of The dynamic Model of postcolonial Englishes

Prof. Dr. Edgar W. Schneider
The Evolution of Postcolonial Englishes: The Dynamic Model
born 1954 in Kirchdorf, Austria
Studied sociology, English and German language and literature; University of Graz, Austria
since 1993; Full Professor in English Linguistics and Head of the Linguistics section of the English Department, University of Regensburg
Postcolonial English: Varieties Around the World
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007.
The evolutionary cycle of New Englishes: parameters of the developmental phases
American English
What's the opportunity in looking at American English from the vantage point of Schneider's model?!
Language Contact
PCEs have emerged in language contact situations,
A theory of language contact therefore provides the necessary frame of reference:

Sarah G. Thomason. 2001.
Language Contact: An Introduction
.Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
The five stages in diachronic succession
the duration of the different phases can significantly vary in length

characteristics of individual phases may be overlapping

the boundaries and successions of stages my be realized fuzzily

To some extent the linearity of the model is also an abstraction from what in reality is a multidimensional interplay of dynamic processes.
The constituent and characteristic elements are organized along two major dimensions:

a diachronic succession of five subsequent stages

two complementary communicative perspectives
The two complementary communicative perspectives
The two parties involved in the colonization process are presented in "strands".

On the one hand the settlers' perspective --> STL,

On the other hand the experience and situation of the indigenous population --> IDG.

Besides, English-speaking settlers and indigenous population weren't the only agents bringing linguistic input to a region: --> adstrates (ADS) = not English-speaking immigrants who faced at their arrival a situation "fait accompli", thus had to adjust to an existing linguistic norm and situation.

They enrich and expand an existing contact scenario "from the side" (meaning equally and not inferior to other)
On the nature of a model
to provide a uniform description of a set of processes that have occurred independently of each other in reality

representing a generalization

should not be confused with reality (!)

It can be improved, modified and developed further as needed, to provide an even closer match with reality.
Sarah Thomason
The following aspects of her theory are most directly relevant to this particular model:
There is a correlation between social and linguistic clines of contact intensity.

The structural effects of language contact depend to a strong extent upon social conditions.

Contact-induced change and interference can be achieved by a variety of mechanisms.

All generalizations in the area of language contact, in particular the correlation between linguistic predictors and structural effects, are essentially probabilistic in nature.

--> Any theory of language contact is bound to be only a rough approximation to a messy reality, leaking somewhere, as all models do.
Salikoko S. Mufwene
published 2001.
The Ecology of Language Evolution
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

His theory adopts ideas drawn from population genetics and biology to linguistics, disciplines between which he sees important parallels.
Some of Mufwene's ideas that apply directly to this model:
Language evolution, and the emergence of contact-induced varieties, can be regarded as speakers making selections from a pool of linguistic variants available to them in a contact setting.

Which variants from this pool are chosen as stable elements of the newly emerging variety depends upon the complete ‘‘ecology’’ of the contact situation, the set of relevant conditions and circumstances, both extralinguistic and intralinguistic.

The precise nature of such a mixture of features is typically decided on largely in the early phase of contact, while things are still in flux, so a ‘‘founder effect’’ can be expected to play a role: inspired by the notion of a ‘‘founder principle’’ in biology.

He employs the metaphor of a language as a species parasitic upon its host population, a community of human speakers. This particular aspect is in line with an important constituent of Thomason’s framework, the priority of social determinants.
Different Types of Contact Scenarios
Mufwene distinguishes three fundamentally different types of colonization, and the differences between them determined the regularity and kinds of linguistic contacts:

Trade colonization was marked by sporadic contacts intended primarily for the exchange of commodities.

Exploitation colonies were larger territories under European administrative control, typically established in the nineteenth century.

Settlement colonization led to interactions between several varieties of a European source language, integrating speakers of different backgrounds, and produced varying patterns of segregation, regional or social, between select speaker groups.
Important Terms:
Koinéization: Speakers will mutually adjust their pronunciation and their lexical usage to increase/facilitate understanding (accomodation)

Pidginization: A simplified form of speech that is usually a mixture of two or more languages, has a rudimentary grammar and vocabulary, is used for communication between groups speaking different languages

Toponymic borrowing: Place names taken over from native local residents
Edgar W. Schneider.
Postcolonial English: Varieties Around the World
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007.
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