By Donka Minkova
Phonological evolution is an important section of the general historical past of the language; the subject material is either major by itself phrases and appropriate in curricular phrases. This booklet describes the segmental and prosodic adjustments within the background of English, offers analyses of those adjustments either as phonological occasions and on the subject of the evolution of interlocking features of past English and highlights the relevance of the themes and probably generate extra curiosity via projecting historic phonological switch onto Present-Day English and its types. the improvement of the English sound procedure is likely one of the top studied a part of the historical past of the language, besides the fact that no updated, student-friendly survey exists: this booklet fills the distance.
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Extra info for A Historical Phonology of English
16 A HISTORICAL PHONOLOGY OF ENGLISH Among the social and demographic factors influencing the development of the language during the EModE period were rapid population growth and the shift from rural to urban living resulting in the levelling of dialect differences. : An early seventeenth-century commentary on English by Alexander Gil, written in Latin, described a variety of English pronunciation, Communis dialectus, a ‘General’ dialect, which is socially and not regionally identified and which exists side by side with the regional Northern, Western, Southern and Eastern varieties.
When the vocal cords are spread and not vibrating, as in breathing, the result is a voiceless sound. In English only one subset of the consonants can be voiceless – /p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ, tʃ, h/ – so that the voiced sounds outnumber the voiceless sounds. All English nasals and approximants (/m, n, ŋ, l, r, w, j/, see below) are voiced. The exact phonetic manifestation of consonant voicing in English varies considerably. The ‘voiced’ /b, d, g/ can be realised phonetically very close to [p, t, k] word-initially, especially after a voiceless consonant as in this boy, this day, this guy.
In spite of many bi- or multilingual groups and areas, colonial American English is considered more homogeneous than contemporary British English. 5 English after 1776 By 1776, when the colonists declared their independence from England, the political, cultural and linguistic conditions for identifying American English as a separate variety were at hand. In 1783 the lexicographer whose name would subsequently become synonymous with specifically American dictionary-making, Noah Webster, published his American Spelling Book; he started work on his American Dictionary of the English Language in 1807 and completed the first edition in 1828.
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