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Language Issues: Dialects, Terminology and Grammatical Variation Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Nov 14th, 2019

Developing the Assessment: The Relevant Issues

Dialects and their development: the two sides of the sword

Among the things which needed to be done in the course of the given assignment, understanding the way dialects develop was the first and the foremost. Therefore, it was necessary to consider language development from a social standpoint, learning about the social processes that impact language development (Moyer, 2010, p. 11).

Terminology as an additional layer of the English vocabulary

Another peculiar issue that required an in-depth research was the difference between the British and the American English. It was rather intriguing to find out that the American language actually was actually developed out of the English of the XIX century (Werckmeister, 2012, p. 15). However, the above-mentioned explained a lot about the specifics of the American pronunciation, vocabulary and sentence structure.

Identifying Grammatical Variations: Cast the Standards Aside

Hisself and himself: more than a slip of the pen

“He only gets a ticket for hisself.”

In the given sentence, one can observe the effect of the so-called “socially marked forms” (Parker & Riley, 2005, p. 149). Though, judging linguistically, the form is incorrect, from the sociological standpoint, the given form has the rights to exist as a dialectal form.

The verb, and nothing but the verb: important details

“I likes playing football more than what I used to.”

In the given case, the form “I likes” is used instead of the traditional “I like”. The third-person ending is a distinct sing of a dialectal speech. As it is stated in the Chapter Four (n.d.), the given example is a clear-cut case of a difference between the Standard English and Concord.

Ain’t, doesn’t and aren’t: the right thing to say

“She ain’t got no money, only what he give her.”

In the given sentence, instead of “does not have,” the author uses the word “ain’t”, which has earned quite a bad reputation over the past few years and seems to have become the symbol of bad taste and bad English (Denham & Lobek, 2011, p. 173). However, the given form is, in fact, a rudiment from the XVII century: “Ain’t first appeared in print with its spelling in the late 1700ies, though it had been around long before that – at least a century – with the spelling an’t” (Denham & Lobek, 2011, p. 173).

On a regular occasion: irregular verbs and tense system

“I seed the advertisement in the newspaper.”

According to Correct American (n.d.), there is a tendency in the American English to “regularize” (Correct American, n.d.) the irregular forms of some verbs, and “to see” is one of these verbs. Considered a dialectal form of “saw”, “seed” is not an official, yet quite legitimate substitute for the traditional “saw”.

When it comes to two instances of dialect at once

“I says you ain’t the one that was here before.”

In the given case, two rules are broken in the same sentence. Along with the above-mentioned “ain’t” issue, which has already been discussed, the sentence features such phenomenon as “says” for the first person singular. As British Library claims, the given phenomenon can be addressed to as the “historic present” (British Library, n.d.).

The mystery of innit: something one will not see any day soon

“You like my brother, innit?”

A dialectal variation of “isn’t it?”, “innit?” is known mostly within the borders of the United Kingdom. However, it seems that the given form is considered a mauve tone among the Brits (Smith, 2012).

A case of a grammar no-no: breaking the rules

“I never thought nothing would happen.”

Though it is traditionally considered that double negation is impossible within a single sentence in English, in some dialects, the phenomenon can take place. Used for emphasis, the given structure is yet considered a colloquialism (Chapter 1, n.d.).

Beyond all logical reasons: the logics of tenses

“It were the police what done it.”

According to the evidence offered in Lecture11a (n.d.), the phenomenon of using Past Participle instead of Past Indefinite form is another dialect which is not common in public speech, yet stands on its own as a dialect.

Discovering the Meaning of Words: When There is More than Meets the Eye


Elicitation is one of the phenomena which one is most likely to encounter in the field of linguistics, especially when it comes to dialects. According to Brennan, there are a number of ways to define elicitation. Is the author assures, the term has a number of various levels which can be revealed only when applying the term to a certain context.

Hence, elicitation can be defined in the following way: “The definition of elicitation is: 1. to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential) 2. to call forth or to draw out (as information or response)” (Brennan, 2009, p. 53).

Applied to the context of language learning, the above-mentioned definition can be interpreted as drawing conclusions concerning the origin of a certain word or a cause of a certain linguistic phenomena with the help of a careful analysis of the existing facts and application of the appropriate theirs. Hence, elicitation can be considered a means to expand the meaning of a certain word.

Dialect levelling

One of the most peculiar language changes which is currently happening in the United Kingdom, dialect leveling is the process of dialect development.

Mostly enhanced by the fact that the representatives of the dialect groups intersect and, therefore, communicate on a regular basis, the phenomenon presupposes the process of the dialects merging into a single dialect According to the definition provided by Kugler, Ry & Vijver (2009), “dialect leveling can be defined as the process of the reduction of formal variation” (Kugler, Ry & Vijver, 2009, p. 313).

Hence, dialect leveling can be considered a step forward in the development of the English language, yet a step backward in distilling the peculiarities of the English dialects. On the one hand, the process of dialect leveling is quite easy to foresee; on the other hand, it is highly undesirable form the viewpoint of preserving the unique British culture in its versatility. Dialect leveling is the process aimed at making the English language more universal.

Multicultural London English

Weirdly enough, the British English is not as close to the traditional version of the English language as one might have thought. The British English has suffered a lot of changes due to the impact of numerous cultures. As Holmes explains,

Social dialect researchers in Hackney, an inner city area of London, and an ethnically very diverse area, have identified a new ethnic speech variety used by local teenagers. It has been labelled Multicultural London English because it is used by adolescents from a range of ethnic backgrounds, including Jamaican, African and Asian backgrounds. (Holmes, 2008, 190)

Therefore, technically, Multicultural London English is the dialect which has emerged after a range of ethnicities have added the specifics of their languages to English. However, it must be marked that the dialect has been considered legit only once adolescents started using it. Hence, it can be considered that the jargon crated by youngsters cannot be considered a legitimate language that can stand on its own.


Isogloss can be defined as the graphic layout of the use of a certain language and its geographical borders, as well as the regions in which the give language merges with other ones. According to the definition provided by Branner, “the term ‘isogloss’ was originally modeled on ‘isopleth’, used in topographical maps, and ‘isotherm’, used in weather maps” (Branner, 2000, p. 32).Hence, it can be considered that the term has been derived from two other terms and, therefore, can be referred both to linguistics and geography.

Border dialect

One of the most peculiar cases of new dialects creation, language border is a phenomenon that can be best described as a cross between two different languages. While one of the languages remains dominant and makes for the grammatical stem of the new dialect, another one contributes its vocabulary stock. According to Penfield & Ornstein-Gallica (1985), “border dialect is the English used by new learners which does fail within the parameters of ‘interference’” (Penfield & Ornstein-Gallica, 1985, p. 16).

Reference List

Branner, D. P. 2000, Problems in comparative Chinese dialectology: the classification of Miin and Hakka, Mouton de Gruyter, Hague.

Brennan, I. K. 2009, A guide to business analysis body of knowledge (BABOK guide), version 2.0, IIBA, Toronto.

, Glossary. Web.

Chapter 1. Web.

. Web.

. Web.

Denham, K. & Lobek, A. 2011, Linguistics for everyone: an introduction, Stamford, CN. Cengage Learning.

Holmes, J. A. 2008, An introduction to sociolinguistics, Pearson Education, UK.

Kugler, F., Ry, C. F., & Vijver, van der, R. F. H. E. 2009, Variation and gradience in phonetics and phonology, Walter de Gruyter, Hague.

Lecture 11a, n.d., Language, thought and culture – dialects. Web.

Moyer, A. 2010, Vernacular languages and dialects: Oxford bibliographies online research guide, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Parker , F. & Riley, K. 2005, Linguistics for non-linguists: a primer with exercises. Web.

Penfield, J. & Ornstein-Gallica, J. L. 1985, Chicano English: an ethnic contact dialect, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Netherlands.

Smith, L. 2012, Web.

Werckmeister, A. 2012, American and British English differences with a look at their history, GRIN Verlag, Berlin.

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