- For Teachers
I'm sorry I don't agree with such suggestion.. if we want to learn others' languages we have to respect their rules. it's true that i personaly sometimes find it very diffecult for me to understand the pronunciation of some English words like "chaos", or what's the diffirence between "ie" and "ei", but i would never try to argue about it. Languages should be preserved for many cultural and historical reasons.
I would suggest, though, if possibole to disregard pronunciation mistakes when examing a none english speaking foreigners for other purposes than linguistic studies, like immigration applyers.
I think phonetics, like grammar should reflect what people say rather than try to impose norms. Standards exist really more for the benefit of teachers - what do you teach if just about anything will do?
To enhance my thesis, here are some examples of the languages based on English.
Last edited by seba_870701; 27-Nov-2007 at 21:03.
Actually, pidgins and creoles are not "lazy" versions of a language.
Pidgins and creoles are created from two different languages when they come into contact. A pidgin is a code, based on elements from both languages, used for trading between the two communities. Usually, pidgins stay in that role, but occasionally they may start to be used by other members of the two communities, and at that point they become creoles. In time, creoles can evolve into languages in their own right.
As for phonetics, pronunciations always change over time, always have done and probably always will. It's not true that "anything goes", because speakers still have to understand each other, but gradually things start to evolve and language moves on. It's noticeable now because we have the ability to record sounds. If you could go back in time and listen to Shakespeare, you would not recognise his speech as English.
The evidence is embedded in the English language itself: its crazy spelling system. Because the written language has not been reformed since it was set in stone by Samuel Johnson and his contemporaries, the written language has not kept pace with the spoken language.
In former times, the "gh" in words like "night" and "fought" was pronounced (a bit like the German "ch" in "Bach", but not so harsh), as was the "k" in "knee"; "daughter" rhymed with "laughter" (and it still does in the Cornish dialect), as did "love" with "prove"; the "a" in "face" sounded more like the "a" in "calm"; and so on. Linguists talk about "Grimm's Law" and "the great vowel shift" to explain how pronunciation changes over time. Some changes were incredibly swift: the great vowel shift in English was completed within a couple of generations (nobody is sure why it happened so quickly, but it may be connected with mass migration after the Black Death).
The role of the phoneticist is to chart and record such changes, not to dictate how words must be pronounced. Pronunciation will change over time -- trying to stop it happening is like trying to stop the world spinning.
And this is true of every language. Most change their spelling systems to keep pace (e.g., German), but quite a few don't (e.g., French).
RP is Received Pronunciation. as far as I know it's considered to be posh and fashionable by native speakers. Most spread pronunciation is Estuary (a cross of cockney and RP)
Well, standards do exist and are used, but most people don't use them in their everyday lives because it's not how people naturally speak.
But the differences in accent don't normally cause problems. People who have to communicate with people from other places on a regular basis will instinctively moderate their accents to be more like RP (for British English) or General American (for US English). There will still be differences(*), but they won't be enough to cause any difficulty at all -- and so far, this system has worked perfectly well.
(*) In Smith and Jones, an episode of the popular British sci-fi drama Doctor Who, the Doctor utters the line "A Judoon platoon on the moon." This is a practical joke by the writer: the character speaks with a mild south-east English accent, but the actor playing him is actually Scottish. The standard English pronunciation of "oo" is almost impossible for a Scotsman to pronounce.