The dilemma between linguistic assimilation and linguistic pluralism has highlighted the debate over American English for the last 200 years. Since colonial times, the question of uniformity of the language spoken in the American territory was often pointed out. Its uniformity and so-called ‘unadulteration’ was even admired. By the end of the 18th century the English language spoken in the United States seemed to have already acquired a distinct character. The term “Americanism” was coined in 1781 by the Scotsman John Witherspoon (Mathews M. 1931: 14). However, as it is well-known, the distinct character of American English was nothing but the historical and socio-linguistic combination of many factors, which included lexical borrowings and ‘colonial lag’, i.e. the retention of earlier linguistic features by a transplanted civilization (Cfr. Markwardt, 1958: 80, in Trudgill P. 1999: 327).

American English: diversity, ethnicity and the politics of place

FODDE, LUISANNA
2013

Abstract

The dilemma between linguistic assimilation and linguistic pluralism has highlighted the debate over American English for the last 200 years. Since colonial times, the question of uniformity of the language spoken in the American territory was often pointed out. Its uniformity and so-called ‘unadulteration’ was even admired. By the end of the 18th century the English language spoken in the United States seemed to have already acquired a distinct character. The term “Americanism” was coined in 1781 by the Scotsman John Witherspoon (Mathews M. 1931: 14). However, as it is well-known, the distinct character of American English was nothing but the historical and socio-linguistic combination of many factors, which included lexical borrowings and ‘colonial lag’, i.e. the retention of earlier linguistic features by a transplanted civilization (Cfr. Markwardt, 1958: 80, in Trudgill P. 1999: 327).
978-1-4438-4748-3
American English; Ethnic literature; Ethnic culture
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/50603
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