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The Oxford guide to world english (Anglais) Relié – 25 mai 2002


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The Oxford Guide to World English takes up where its "mother book", The Oxford Companion to the English Language, left off. Organized by continent, there are chapters on Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australasia, Oceania, and Antarctica. Tom McArthur covers the world's many varieties of English in an interconnected way and notes the ties that bind varieties and regions that are geographically far apart, as with: West African English and African American English; Scots, Ulster Scots, the Scotch-Irish migrations to Appalachia in the US, and country and western music; and aspects of Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Falklands English as southern-hemisphere varieties. The end result is a book that, while invaluable to specialist, is accessible and appealing to the non-specialist, and covers a vast spread of "Englishes" from Brummie, Cockney, Estuary, and RP in the UK to New York and New Orleans speech in the US and such other varieties as Indian English, Maori English, and West African Pidgin. A concluding chapter studies: the nature and power of large languages; such issues as gender and political correctness; the role, status, and nature of broken and fractured English; the worldwide English language teaching industry; and the issue of standardness, considered both locally and globally. This hugely comprehensive work provides a fascinating and novel survey of English as both a pre-eminent "standard" world language and a family of vigorously diverse regional varieties.


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There are, at the present time, three labels for English as the universalizing language of the human race. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Food for thought 15 juin 2005
Par anap - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
There are two sides to this book. On the one hand, it presents English as a predatory language that endangers other languages. English takes over, influences local languages, anglicises thinking patterns, etc. etc. In short, it has become a world wide imperial language.

On the other hand, this book presents English as a vulnerable language, crumbling into lots of Englishes. Several varieties are shown in the different chapters on America, Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe. In some cases the language is taking a course of its own. For example in Singapore, on and off are used as verbs, to on and to off.

It is interesting to see the two sides of the argument but on occasions it is not clear what this book really means.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Shockingly bad 9 février 2011
Par C. C. S. Ryan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is the kind of ambitious undertaking that should have been done by someone with deep expertise in the field and *then* checked by specialists in each of the dialects, or written by a team of experts. Unfortunately, it seems to have been written by one person and then not checked by anyone. It's full of bizarre claims and errors; if you speak or specialize in one of the dialects of English that is not shared by the author, you're sure to find a host of linguistic (and sociolinguistic) errors and errors of omission. That is, he states things that just aren't true, and he doesn't mention critical information. Look for another book on the topic--don't get this one.
Not Up To Cambridge Standards 24 décembre 2013
Par Anne Mills - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A place-by-place guide to the way in which English is used (mostly as a primary language, but also as a second language) around the world. It starts by considering, separately, the many regional varieties of the language in the British Isles, and then moves on to North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australasia. It covers pronunciation, vocabulary, and usage, and also has sections on English vs. American English, and on World English. It is informative in an encylopediac way, and well written. I don't, however, find it as informative or as well-written as the Cambridge works on our language.
2 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great guide to a new subject 20 janvier 2005
Par Edward G. Nilges - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a new subject, because modern linguists accept that the myriad forms of English all over the world should not be viewed as demotic variants of American Standard English or BBC English, but as languages in their own right.

This book does it justice, and is an excellent resource for the business expat as such.

One learns how silly one sounds when one tries music hall upper clawss English on the Bridget Jones generation, who speak, it seems, "Thames Estuary" English, a mixture of BBC, Northern influenced glottal stops for zing, Caribbean phrasing and Americanisms, thankfully innocent of any "old boy"s or "I say you chaps"s. The old boys were real enough and if American Movie Channel oldies are creditable they really talked like that but one must remember that they have for the most part shuffled off their mortal coil.

McArthur does miss the fact that a "prestige" form of speech does one job rawther well, and that is simple communication to people all over the world. The BBC itself is the prime example. While treating an argot like Bow Bells Cockney with respect, one must also keep in mind that much of it, as McArthur knows, was developed by the lads in order to hide swag from the coppers as in the case of rhyming slang that then removes the last rhyme.

Fascism is the limit of identity politics, and, insistence on equal rights for all argots can create bloody nonsense such as the de-hyphenation of Serbo-Croatian. But, as McArthur points out, languages are combining and argots are disappearing, so our task may as well be their preservation.

Read thoroughly, but jumping around as one would read a reference book, in search of juicy bits, one is well-rewarded. I now know how to pronounce Australian, for example, like Crocodile Dundee: it is pronounced Strine. This is marvelous economy for a frequent word, reducing Terra Australius down to bite size.

I never knew that there is an Antarctic English, used by the international community in "the land of ice and snow". It deserves a literature, therefore here is my first contribution:

A beaker was bareassed on ice

And said, this is not very nice

For the hairs in me ass

Shall delay me manfood repast

For I have learned that in Antarctica, a "beaker" is a scientist, after a character in Sesame Street. "Manfood" is in binary opposition to "dogfood" and expresses, perhaps, the mutual interdependence of man and sled dog in Polar climes, at least until recently. My "beaker" uses "me" instead of "my" in that Celtic mode characteristic, I believe, of Strines, who are over-represented in the South Pole.

I'm not sure about the Oxford Guide's derivation of American Ebonics "homeboy". It was said to have been derived from men in prison who would attempt to relate to new fish by claiming a common neighborhood. It may equally relate to practice when working people of color would form communities in Chicago and other Northern cities, and integrate "boys" newly come up North from their own home towns.

I was called homeboy by a New York bellhop who I overtipped in 1991 and there is an association of likable naivety which may or may not be taken advantage of depending on the good nature of the homeys already knowledgeable about a new environment.

To be chillin, with the homes, is to have established an ongoing pattern of mutual recognition and respect combined with a basic wariness which is the enemy of enthusiasm and naivety. It is an Austinian "speech act" since it performs the acknowledgement as well as describing a mental state.

But the new environment in which I be chillin need not be prison, and, far more American blacks have had, in place of prison, the honest experience of moving to a new city for work and chilling, in the new city, with the homes.

Indeed, one wonder why simple work experience is so seldom foregrounded in discussion of language. Instead, for white and European people, their recreations are emphasized while American blacks get to be mentioned in the same context as prison...when, last time I checked, there are a lot of white homeys in jail too.

But I certainly understand that language is a political minefield. Its author fails to connect his research with Foucault's account of language as systematic capillary power because for many English, Strine, and 'merican academics, France is a no-fly zone: complementary to its fashionability in literary criticism, where French theory is redundancy, its utility in APPLIED lingustics is neglected.

But in general I be chilling with this book, and my homey has done an excellent job.
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