Varieties and Registers of Spoken and Written Language

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  VARIETIES AND REGISTERS OF SPOKEN AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE VARIETIES OF ENGLISH - World Englishes or Varieties of English actually stands for localized varieties of English as they are used or spoken in certain areas. In Asian context, the concept was introduced by Braj Kachru. The famous “Three Concentric Circles of Asian Englishes” attributed to Kachru presents the three circles:    Inner Circle with ENL(English as a native language) member countries    Outer Circle with ESL(English as a second language) member countries    Expanding Circle with EFL(English as a foreign language) member countries Expanding Circle China Caribbean Countries Egypt Indonesia Israel Japan Korea Nepal Saudi Arabia South Africa South America Taiwan Outer Circle Bangladesh Ghana India Kenya Malaysia Nigeria Pakistan Philippines Singapore Sri Lanka Tanzania Inner Circle USA United Kingdom Canada Australia New Zealand Three Concentric Circles of English According to Bautista and Gonzalez(2006) the structural characteristics of these new varieties differ. The acrolect   then comes close to the standard while basilect   digresses thoroughly from it. Mesolect   or the middle variety is midway between the acrolect and basilect. Bautista and Gonzalez use the term edulects for these varieties resulting from certain types of education ascertained by social class. As regards structural variation, Kachru and Nelson (2006) claim that these varieties of English are influenced by the local language(s) in various areas of their grammars and exhibit specific phonological, lexical, syntactic, and discoursal characteristics. For instance, in term of stress and rhythm, Outer and Expanding Circle varieties observe syllable-timed rhythm rather than stress-timed rhythm. Speakers from Outer and Expanding circles do not make any changes in their pronunciation to make a distinction between nouns and verbs in pairs which Inner Circles observe. As regards sounds, Outer and Expanding Circles do not observe initial aspiration of voiceless plosives such as p, t, k and these are often perceived by Inner Circles as b, d, g. Some speakers of Expanding Circle do not properly distinguish between r and l. According to Pope, in the case of syntactic features, question-answering system differs between Inner and Outer-Expanding Circles. Vocabulary words peculiar only to some English varieties in Southeast Asia can be noted as seen in the following examples: 1.Singapore English: actsy ‘show off  ’, missy    ‘nurse’  2.Philippine English: deep   ‘hard to understand’, high blood    ‘tense or upset’,  promdi   ‘from   the province’  3.Malaysian English: kachang   ‘peanuts, easy’, slambar ‘relax’, antilog   ‘a male hated by a girl’  Lexical features in Philippine English 1. Preference for specific words and collocations specifically shall, could, such, wherein, of  ; 2. Unusual words and collocations, specific terms, and words combinations (e.g., results to  instead of results in ) 3. Unusual prepositional usage Syntactic features in Philippine English 1. Word-order features 2. Use of articles 3. Noun sub-categorization 4. Pronoun-antecedent incongruence 5. Reclassification of GAE transitive verb as intransitive verb 6. Tense-aspect usage consisting of unusual use of verb forms and tenses LANGUAGE REGISTERS/REGISTER OF ENGLISH David Crystal(2008) defines register as “a variety of language defined according to its use in social situations.”  Crystal(1864) further discusses Style and Register: Style refers to the degree of formality attached to particular interpersonal social situation. Register refers to a kind of language whose forms are of a definable social situation, regardless of status of the participant. It is to be noted that genre and register overlap and are sometimes used interchangeably. Lee(2001) whereas genre is associated more with the organization of culture, register is associated with the organization of situation. Language register then refers to the formality of language which one speaks. It is through register that you are able to determine the kind of vocabulary to use as well as the kind of structure to use. Even in writing , you may use a formal or an informal register. FORMAL REGISTER- is used in formal speaking and writing situations. It is likewise appropriate for use in professional writing. It is more impersonal, objective, and factual. INFORMAL REGISTER- which is more casual in tone, is appropriate for people with whom you have established a more personal relationship. This type of writing may sometimes be emotional as an intimate relationship exists between speaker and listener/ writer and reader. LEGALESE/LEGAL LANGUAGE- archaic expressions, embedded structures, long, kilometric sentences, technical jargons intrinsic only to the community of legal professionals, passive voice TEXTESE/LANGUAGE OF TEXT- use of abbreviations, acronyms, slang words, and expressions. Extra care should be practiced when comprehending text messages to avoid misinterpretation and/or miscommunication. EXPLORING TEXTS REFLECTING DIFFERENT CULTURES CULTURAL TEXT One cause of miscommunication is pronunciation. Speakers of different varieties of English have different ways of pronouncing the words. This is so because of differences in phonology. In terms of pronunciation, most Outer and Expanding Circle varieties display differences from the Inner Circle. These differences may lead to grammatical consequences affecting comprehension.  In Philippine languages, every vowel is pronounced with a full distinct sound. Filipinos pronounce words as they are written out making it syllable-timed and not stress-timed. Americans blend syllables or sometimes even drop some sounds making the syllables short. American English Philippine English Gotcha! Got you! Watche say? What did she say? Wherd yu go? Where did you go? Ja hitit? Did you hit it? Can I getche adrink? Can I get you a drink? A cultural barrier does not only pertain to differing languages. It may also be in form of a cultural practice or even a bodily gesture. FORMAL AND INFORMAL LANGUAGE When speaking impromptu on a certain topic, you should use ordinary, conversational language. However, if you are to give a lecture in a conference, your language should be formal. In the same manner that when you write your speech and your purpose is to inform your audience, it is expected that your language is formal. If your speech is meant to entertain your listeners on a light topic, your language should be informal. COPING WITH CHALLENGES OF INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION It has become a widespread notion that speakers’ use of different languages results in intercultural miscommunication and misunderstanding. Indeed, the lack of shared knowledge and beliefs and cultural diversity make it more complicated to arrive at the correct inference or interpretation of meanings. But it can also be argued that English is now a global lingua franca. It is thus important to emphasize that the ownership of English cannot be attributed to just one country or to those who use it as a native language. Meierkord emphasizes that communication in English as lingua franca(ELF) is “a form  of intercultural communication characterized by cooperation rather than misunderstanding.” Note that misunderstanding in intercultural communication may not always be caused by verbal utterances. Misunderstandings may also occur due to wrong interpretation of the non-verbal code. THE HANDSHAKE United States-Firm handshake Germany - Soft handshake Japan - Handshake with arm firmly extended Middle East - Handshake and free hand placed on the forearm of the other person GREETINGS Greetings rituals also vary from culture to culture. Japanese bow –  greetings or thank you German bow –   diener   means a bow to and in recognition of an authority. Thus, when a person bows, he/she is actually sending the message “ at your service ”  SOURCES OF MISUNDERSTANDING 1.Ambiguity- lack of explicitness on the part of the speaker in the form of problematic references and ambiguous semantics in which an utterance is open to different interpretation. 2.Performance-related misunderstanding- slips of the tongue and mishearing 3. Language-related misunderstanding- ungrammatically of sentences 4.Gaps in world knowledge- gaps in content rather than languages 5. Local context- turns and the turns within sequences produced by the participants, and the orientation of the participants as well as the repair moves that follow the displayed understanding. APPROACHES TO STUDYING INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION There is a need to be aware or conscious of other cultures especially those that you will visit so you can avoid offending people. Due to misinterpretations, miscommunication occurs. All cultures are equal and you need to understand that no culture is superior or inferior to another. It is only through awareness that you get to compare other cultures with your own and appreciate cultural diversities and learn to live with them. People have different languages, lifestyles, and ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving. This is the essence of cultural diversity. Social Science Interpretative Critical Discipline on which approach is founded Psychology Anthropology, sociolinguistics Various Research goal Describe and predict behavior Describe behavior Change behavior Assumption of reality External and describable Subjective Subjective and material Assumptions of human behavior Predictable Creative and voluntary Changeable Method of study Survey, Observation Participant observation, field study Textual analysis of media Relationship of culture and communication Communication influenced by culture Culture created and maintained through communication Culture as a site of power struggle Contribution of the approach Identifies cultural variations; recognizes cultural differences in many aspects of communication but often does not consider context Emphasizes that communication and culture and cultural differences should be studied in context Recognizes the economic and political forces in culture and communication; asserts that all intercultural interactions are characterized by power
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