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Encyclopedia > British English

British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world.[1] British English encompasses the varieties of English used within the UK, including those in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Some may also use the term more widely, to include other forms such as Hiberno-English (spoken in Ireland).[2] The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up Anglophone in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total 130... Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic and Scots1 Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Monarch Queen Elizabeth II... Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... This article is about the country. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


In quotidian circumstances, most Britons — the majority of whom speak English as either a first- or a second-language — consider that they just speak "English", rather than "British English" specifically; the term "British English" is used only when necessary to distinguish it from other forms of English.


There are slight regional variations in formal written English in the United Kingdom (for example, although the words wee and little are interchangeable in some contexts, one is more likely to see wee written by a Scottish or Northern Irish person than by an English person). Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described as "British English". The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, and a uniform concept of "British English" is therefore more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English (p. 45), the phrase British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word British, and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity". Look up wee in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Contents

History

The widespread use of English worldwide is largely attributable to the power of the former British Empire, and this is reflected in the continued use of the language in both its successor (the Commonwealth of Nations) and many other countries. In the days before radio and television, most communication across the English-speaking world was by the written word. This helped to preserve a degree of global uniformity of the written language. However, due to the vast separation distances involved, variations in the spoken language began to arise. This was also aided by émigrés to the empire coming into contact with other, non-British cultures. In some cases, resulting variations in the spoken language have led to these being reflected in minor variations in written language usage, grammar and spellings in other countries. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Émigré is a French term that shows how Martin B. loves stephanie. ...


Dialects

Dialects and accents vary not only between the nations of Britain, but also within the countries themselves. There are also differences in the English spoken by different socio-economic groups in any particular region. This is a list of varieties of the English language. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Home Nations (often written as the common noun home nations) is a term used to refer to the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — collectively but as separate entities, distinct from the United Kingdom as a state. ...


The major divisions are normally classified as English English (or English as spoken in England, which comprises Southern English dialects, Midlands English dialects and Northern English dialects), Welsh English, Scottish English and the closely related dialects of the Scots language. The various British dialects also differ in the words which they have borrowed from other languages. The Scottish and Northern dialects include many words originally borrowed from Old Norse and a few borrowed from Gaelic. English English is a term that has been applied to the English language as spoken in England. ... Southern English may refer to: The English language as spoken in the south of England; The English language as spoken in the southern United States of America; The people of southern England. ... Midlands English is a group of dialects of the English language. ... Northern English is a group of dialects of the English language. ... Welsh English, Anglo-Welsh, or Wenglish (see below) refer to the dialects of English spoken in Wales by Welsh people. ... Scottish English is usually taken to mean the standard form of the English language used in Scotland, often termed Scottish Standard English. ... Scots refers to the Anglic varieties spoken in parts of Scotland. ... Old Norse or Danish tongue is the Germanic language once spoken by the inhabitants of the Nordic countries (for instance during the Viking Age). ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


Following the its last major survey of English Dialects (1950–1961), the University of Leeds has started work on a new project. In May 2007 the Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded a grant to a team led by Sally Johnson, Professor of Linguistics and Phonetics at Leeds University to study British regional dialects.[3][4] The Survey of English Dialects was undertaken between 1950 and 1961 under the direction of Professor Harold Orton of the English department of the University of Leeds. ... The University of Leeds is a major teaching and research university, one of the largest in the United Kingdom with over 32,000 full-time students. ... The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research in the arts and humanities, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom. ...


Johnson's team are sifting through a large collection of examples of regional slang words and phrases turned up by the "Voices project" run by the BBC, in which the BBC invited the public to send in examples of English still spoken throughout the country. The BBC Voices project also collected hundreds of news articles about how the British speak English from swearing through to items on language schools. This information will also be collated and analysied by the Johnson's team both for content and where it was reported. "Perhaps the most remarkable finding in the Voices study is that the English language is as diverse as ever, despite our increased mobility and constant exposure to other accents and dialects through TV and radio."[4] Work by the team on is project not expected to end before 2010. When reporting the awarding of the grant on 1 June, 2007, The Independent's last paragraph was : June 1 is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ...

Mr Upton, who is Professor of English at Leeds University, said that they were "very pleased" - and indeed, "well chuffed" - at receiving their generous grant. He could, of course, have been "bostin" if he had come from the Black Country, or if he was a Scouser he would have been well "made up" over so many spondoolicks, because as a Geordie might say, £460,000 is a "canny load of chink"[5]

University Tower, University of Leeds The University of Leeds (United Kingdom) is amongst the largest of British universities and the most popular by applicants, with 52,444 applicants in 2003 for 7,228 places (UCAS). ... The Black Country is a loosely-defined area of the English West Midlands conurbation, to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton, around the South Staffordshire coalfield. ... A Scouser is a person from Liverpool in the North West of England. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Accent

The most common form of English used by the British ruling class is that originating from south-east England (the area around the capital, London, and the ancient English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge). This form of the language is known as the "Received Standard", and its accent is called Received Pronunciation (RP), which is improperly regarded by many people outside the UK as "the British accent". Earlier it was held as better than other accents and referred to as the King's (or Queen's) English, or even "BBC English". Originally this was the form of English used by radio and television. However, there is now much more tolerance of variation than there was in the past; for several decades other accents have been accepted and are frequently heard, although stereotypes about the BBC persist. English spoken with a mild Scottish accent has a reputation for being especially easy to understand. Moreover, only approximately two percent of Britons speak RP[6], and it has evolved quite markedly over the last 40 years. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... The University of Oxford (usually abbreviated as Oxon. ... The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University), located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and has a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ...


Even in the south east there are significantly different accents; the local inner east London accent called Cockney is strikingly different from RP and can be difficult for outsiders to understand. St Mary-le-Bow The term cockney refers to working-class inhabitants of London, particularly east London, and the slang used by these people. ...


There is a new form of accent called Estuary English that has been gaining prominence in recent decades: it has some features of Received Pronunciation and some of Cockney. In London itself, the broad local accent is still changing, partly influenced by Caribbean speech. Londoners speak with a mixture of these accents, depending on class, age, upbringing, and so on. Estuary English is a name given to the form of English widely spoken in South East England, especially along the river Thames and its estuary. ... A Londoner is someone who inhabits or originates from London. ...


Since the mass immigration to Northamptonshire in the 1940s and its close accent borders, it has become a source of various accent development. There, nowadays, one finds an accent known locally as the Kettering accent, which is a mixture of many different local accents, including East Midlands, East Anglian, Scottish, and Cockney. This accent is found as North as Melton Mowbray, and as south as Bedford. Also, found in the town of Corby 5 miles north, one can find Corbyite, which unlike the Kettering accent, is largely based on Scottish. This is due to the influx of Scottish steelworkers, which is a major industry in the town. Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Kettering is a town in Northamptonshire, England. ... The East Midlands is one of the regions of England and consists of most of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. ... Norfolk and Suffolk, the core area of East Anglia. ... Scottish English is usually taken to mean the standard form of the English language used in Scotland, often termed Scottish Standard English. ... St Mary-le-Bow The term cockney refers to working-class inhabitants of London, particularly east London, and the slang used by these people. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, England. ... Corby is an industrial town and a local government district located 13km north of Kettering in Northamptonshire, England. ...


Outside the south east there are, in England alone, other families of accents easily distinguished by natives, including:

Although some of the stronger regional accents may sometimes be difficult for some English-speakers from outside Britain to understand, almost all 'British English' accents are mutually intelligible amongst the British themselves, with only occasional difficulty between very diverse accents. However, modern communications and mass media have reduced these differences significantly. In addition, most British people can to some degree temporarily 'swing' their accent (and particularly vocabulary) towards a more neutral form of 'standard' English at will, to reduce difficulty where very different accents are involved, or when speaking to foreigners. The West Country is an informal term for the area of south-western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. ... South West England is one of the regions of England. ... Norfolk and Suffolk, the core area of East Anglia. ... The West Midlands is an official Region of England, covering the western half of the Midlands. ... The East Midlands is one of the regions of England and consists of most of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. ... Location within England Coordinates: , Sovereign state United Kingdom Constituent country England Region North West England Ceremonial county Historic county Merseyside Lancashire Admin HQ Liverpool City Centre Founded 1207 City Status 1880 Government  - Type Metropolitan borough, City  - Governing body Liverpool City Council Area  - Borough & City 43. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Manchester shown within England Coordinates: , Sovereign state United Kingdom Constituent country England Region North West England Ceremonial county Greater Manchester Admin HQ Manchester City Centre Founded 13th Century City Status 1853 Government  - Type Metropolitan borough, City  - Governing body Manchester City Council Area  - Borough & City 115. ... Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Look up Yorkshire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... // Newcastle upon Tyne (usually shortened to Newcastle) is a large city in Tyne and Wear, England. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A pair of languages is said to be mutually intelligible if speakers of one language can readily understand the other language. ...


Standardization

As with English around the world, the English language as used in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is governed by convention rather than formal code: there is no equivalent body to the Académie française or the Real Academia Española, and the authoritative dictionaries (for example, Oxford English Dictionary, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Chambers Dictionary, Collins Dictionary) record usage rather than prescribe it. In addition, vocabulary and usage change with time; words are freely borrowed from other languages and other strains of English, and neologisms are frequent. The Académie française In the French educational system an académie LAcadémie française, or the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. ... The Real Academia Española (Spanish for Royal Spanish Academy, RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. ... The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of... Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, first published by Longman in 1978. ... The ninth edition of the Chambers Dictionary of the English language was published in 2003 by Chambers Harrap. ... Collins was a Scottish printing company founded by a schoolmaster, William Collins, in Glasgow in 1819. ... A neologism (Greek νεολογισμός [neologismos], from νέος [neos] new + λόγος [logos] word, speech, discourse + suffix -ισμός [-ismos] -ism) is a word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) — often to apply to new concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older terminology sound more contemporary. ...


For historical reasons dating back to the rise of London in the 9th century, the form of language spoken in London and the East Midlands became standard English within the Court, and ultimately became the basis for generally accepted use in the law, government, literature and education within Britain. To a great extent, modern British spelling was standardized in Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), although previous writers had also played a significant role in this and much has changed since 1755. Scotland, which only underwent parliamentary union in 1707, still has a few independent aspects of standardization, especially within its autonomous legal system. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The East Midlands is one of the regions of England and consists of most of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. ... For other persons named Samuel Johnson, see Samuel Johnson (disambiguation). ... A Dictionary of the English Language, one of the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language, was prepared by Samuel Johnson and published on April 15, 1755. ...


See also

The United Kingdom does not have a constitutionally defined official language. ... Scots refers to the Anglic varieties spoken in parts of Scotland. ... Scottish English is usually taken to mean the standard form of the English language used in Scotland, often termed Scottish Standard English. ... Ulster Scots, also known as Ullans, Hiberno-Scots, or Scotch-Irish, refers to the variety of Scots (sometimes referred to as Lowland Scots) spoken in parts of the province of Ulster, which spans the six counties of Northern Ireland and three of the Republic of Ireland. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... . For the disagreement and different views on using the term British Isles, particularly in relation to Ireland, see British Isles naming dispute. ...

References

  • McArthur, Tom (2002). Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866248-3 hardback, ISBN 0-19-860771-7 paperback.
  • Bragg, Melvyn (2004). The Adventure of English, London: Sceptre. ISBN 0-340-82993-1
  • Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X.
  • Simpson, John (ed.) (1989). Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Notes

  1. ^ Peters, p 79.
  2. ^ The Oxford English Dictionary defines British English as "the English language as spoken or written in the British Isles; esp[ecially] the forms of English usual in Great Britain, as contrasted with those characteristic of the U.S.A. or other English-speaking countries."
  3. ^ Professor Sally Johnson biography on the Leeds University website
  4. ^ a b Mapping the English language – from cockney to Orkney, Leeds University website, 25 May 2007.
  5. ^ McSmith, Andy. Dialect researchers given a 'canny load of chink' to sort 'pikeys' from 'chavs' in regional accents, The Independent, 1 June, 2007. Page 20
  6. ^ Learning: Language & Literature: Sounds Familiar?: Case studies: Received Pronunciation British Library

The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of... University Tower, University of Leeds The University of Leeds (United Kingdom) is amongst the largest of British universities and the most popular by applicants, with 52,444 applicants in 2003 for 7,228 places (UCAS). ... University Tower, University of Leeds The University of Leeds (United Kingdom) is amongst the largest of British universities and the most popular by applicants, with 52,444 applicants in 2003 for 7,228 places (UCAS). ... is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ... June 1 is the 152nd day of the year (153rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... British Library main building, London The British Library (BL) is the national library of the United Kingdom. ...

External links

  • Sounds Familiar? — Examples of regional accents and dialects across the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website

  Results from FactBites:
 
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/British English (1501 words)
British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world.
The widespread use of English worldwide is largely attributable to the power of the former British Empire, and this is reflected in the continued use of the language in both its successor (the Commonwealth of Nations) and many other countries.
The major divisions are normally classified as English English (or English as spoken in England, which comprises Southern English dialects, Midlands English dialects and Northern English dialects), Welsh English, Scottish English and the closely related dialects of the Scots language.
British English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (662 words)
British English (BrE) is a term used to differentiate between the form of the English language used in the British Isles and those used elsewhere.
Although British English is often used to denote the English spelling and lexicon used outside the U.S., this usage is not completely accurate, as almost all British spelling rules and the vast majority of British vocabulary are actually shared among the whole English-speaking world outside the U.S. (except Canada as far as lexicon is concerned).
Historically, the widespread usage of English across the world is attributed to the former power of the British Empire, and hence the most common form of English used by the British ruling class that of south-east England (the area around the capital, London, and the ancient English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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