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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:27 pm 
Sanci
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Will spoken English and written English split into separate languages in the future? It seems like they are continuing to diverge more and more from each other.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:06 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Yes and no. There already is a continuum of formality in written language. The most formal and least formal are arguably already evolving separately, with the language of most social media evolving along informal spoken language. Formal language, depending on area, is either simply resistant or assimilating into L2 English (as in the EU).

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:03 pm 
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I am with mèþru - formal written English is likely to stay more static and become more distant from everyday spoken English over time, while more informal written English is likely to change along with everyday spoken English (considering how it already commonly uses forms that are not found in formal written English but which are common in everyday spoken English).

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:04 pm 
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i don't think informal english is gonna diverge into a separate language entirely, but maybe into a distant dialect

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:17 pm 
Sumerul
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"Separate language" probably is not the best way to put it, as it implies that speakers of one variety by default cannot understand or speak the other variety, and rather a better way to put it would be diglossia, and I feel that English already has an amount of that already, but at the same time any literate native English-speaker can understand, speak, read, and write both informal and formal registers. (Contrast this with non-native English-speakers, who may only be able to understand, speak, read, and write formal registers.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:53 am 
Smeric
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I find it unlikely that formal registers will diverge that far from the informal ones. Whenever the difference gets particularly pronounced, once register will more likely adjust to match the other.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:45 pm 
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KathTheDragon wrote:
I find it unlikely that formal registers will diverge that far from the informal ones. Whenever the difference gets particularly pronounced, once register will more likely adjust to match the other.

+1. I see features in contemporary formal English that weren't acceptable when I first start learning it in the 80s.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:25 pm 
Sumerul
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One complicating factor is that L2 learners of English tend to learn more formal registers, and are likely to retard change in it or even inject non-native influence as they use it amongst themselves (the aforementioned "EU English", for instance), whereas more informal registers are more likely to be used predominantly by native speakers, and formal registers when used by native speakers are more likely to be influenced by their native speech. So one may get a split that is not of informal versus formal English as used by native speakers, but of L1 versus L2 English.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:50 pm 
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Travis B. wrote:
One complicating factor is that L2 learners of English tend to learn more formal registers

Are they? That hasn't been my experience (and, in addition to dealing with L2 speakers in a learning environment pretty much every day, I also taught English to them in Germany). Maybe it was true when more people read long novels in their target languages than watched movies and listened to pop music.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:26 pm 
Sumerul
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linguoboy wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
One complicating factor is that L2 learners of English tend to learn more formal registers

Are they? That hasn't been my experience (and, in addition to dealing with L2 speakers in a learning environment pretty much every day, I also taught English to them in Germany). Maybe it was true when more people read long novels in their target languages than watched movies and listened to pop music.

My experience with non-native English-speakers has been mostly with Indians and Chinese individuals (and some Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, and German individuals), and with at least the (many) Indians I have interacted with (they being the largest individual group in question) I have noticed a general pattern that, aside from the systematic phonological differences between Indian English and NAE and some notable words that had (consistent) unexpected pronunciations (every Indian I have met who has said the word component has pronounced it [ˈkampənənt]), they have been quite fluent in formal Standard English. However, when I spoke to them in a lower register (as I am not one to talk to my coworkers in a higher register outside a formal context like official meetings), understanding often broke down, and oftentimes I would find myself switching back to a higher register after repeating myself a few times. I realize a good part of this may be due to that my lower register speech is more dialectal than my higher register speech, and it is this that they have had trouble understanding, not the lower register unto itself. I also note that the longer one of said individuals has stayed here in the Milwaukee area, the less of a factor this appeared to be, implying that they learn how people sound like informally here from living here.

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:13 pm 
Smeric
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Indians definitely learn very formal English in school and tend towards British English usage. Of course this is changing due to American media becoming more and more pervasive, but I doubt the school curriculum has kept pace with this trend. Some Indians try to sound more American after moving here, but they're the exception rather than the norm, and it's probably near impossible for them to shake off everything they learned in school.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:33 pm 
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Travis B. wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
One complicating factor is that L2 learners of English tend to learn more formal registers

Are they? That hasn't been my experience (and, in addition to dealing with L2 speakers in a learning environment pretty much every day, I also taught English to them in Germany). Maybe it was true when more people read long novels in their target languages than watched movies and listened to pop music.

My experience with non-native English-speakers has been mostly with Indians and Chinese individuals (and some Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, and German individuals), and with at least the (many) Indians I have interacted with (they being the largest individual group in question) I have noticed a general pattern that, aside from the systematic phonological differences between Indian English and NAE and some notable words that had (consistent) unexpected pronunciations (every Indian I have met who has said the word component has pronounced it [ˈkampənənt]), they have been quite fluent in formal Standard English. However, when I spoke to them in a lower register (as I am not one to talk to my coworkers in a higher register outside a formal context like official meetings), understanding often broke down, and oftentimes I would find myself switching back to a higher register after repeating myself a few times. I realize a good part of this may be due to that my lower register speech is more dialectal than my higher register speech, and it is this that they have had trouble understanding, not the lower register unto itself. I also note that the longer one of said individuals has stayed here in the Milwaukee area, the less of a factor this appeared to be, implying that they learn how people sound like informally here from living here.

This sounds awefully familiar. I've been working the last few months with a group of mostly "Indians and Chinese individuals", who I can tell are clearly smart and capable, yet ... I often have trouble communicating with them. They all seem to be fluent in English, so differences of register might be the real answer.

@linguoboy: My experience with Germans ~ 20 years ago was more like yours: I was surprised how much colloquial English they knew.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:29 pm 
Sanci
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Boşkoventi wrote:
This sounds awefully familiar. I've been working the last few months with a group of mostly "Indians and Chinese individuals", who I can tell are clearly smart and capable, yet ... I often have trouble communicating with them. They all seem to be fluent in English, so differences of register might be the real answer.

differing registers in indians' english is indeed the problem. i've strolled across a lot of stories online about an indian who can speak english but because of their different register, they need another person as an "intepreter" since the register was so painfully hard to understand for the other person

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:43 am 
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Vijay wrote:
Indians definitely learn very formal English in school and tend towards British English usage. Of course this is changing due to American media becoming more and more pervasive, but I doubt the school curriculum has kept pace with this trend. Some Indians try to sound more American after moving here, but they're the exception rather than the norm, and it's probably near impossible for them to shake off everything they learned in school.

This is interesting to me since I recently spent the weekend with a Gujarati friend and if not for his /v/ you might think he'd been born here. I don't recall a single Britishism in his speech.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:27 am 
Sumerul
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linguoboy wrote:
Vijay wrote:
Indians definitely learn very formal English in school and tend towards British English usage. Of course this is changing due to American media becoming more and more pervasive, but I doubt the school curriculum has kept pace with this trend. Some Indians try to sound more American after moving here, but they're the exception rather than the norm, and it's probably near impossible for them to shake off everything they learned in school.

This is interesting to me since I recently spent the weekend with a Gujarati friend and if not for his /v/ you might think he'd been born here. I don't recall a single Britishism in his speech.

To me at least, the longer an Indian has been in the US the more likely they are to sound like a native English-speaker and the more likely they are to sound American rather than British. I have encountered Indians who sounded like Americans aside from occasional phonological details (like their pronunciation of /v/ and /w/), and I have encountered Indians that were utterly unintelligible before I learned to understand the phonology of Indian English (e.g. learning to understand [p t k b d g ɾ] as /p t k b d g r/).

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


Last edited by Travis B. on Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:08 am 
Sumerul
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Boşkoventi wrote:
@linguoboy: My experience with Germans ~ 20 years ago was more like yours: I was surprised how much colloquial English they knew.

The Germans I have spoken with have all seemed to have had a good understanding of everyday NAE; I do not recall ever having to switch registers when speaking with them to be understood, and they all seemed to use a register that seemed appropriate for the context (even though I recall one German who seemed to speak in pure unadulterated RP, but as I only remember him speaking at meetings at like I did not get a chance to speak with him in a context where a lower register might be used).

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:43 am 
Sanno
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Travis B. wrote:
(even though I recall one German who seemed to speak in pure unadulterated RP, but as I only remember him speaking at meetings at like I did not get a chance to speak with him in a context where a lower register might be used).

I knew one like that, but he'd come to us from Oxford so it was totally understandable. (Speaking of formal register, he once apologised for cancelling a date by saying, "One should always check one's calendar before one makes an appointment, shouldn't one?" I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:45 pm 
Sumerul
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linguoboy wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
(even though I recall one German who seemed to speak in pure unadulterated RP, but as I only remember him speaking at meetings at like I did not get a chance to speak with him in a context where a lower register might be used).

I knew one like that, but he'd come to us from Oxford so it was totally understandable. (Speaking of formal register, he once apologised for cancelling a date by saying, "One should always check one's calendar before one makes an appointment, shouldn't one?" I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing.)

I knew the guy's name, which was quite obviously German, but did not connect the name with him personally, so for a while there I assumed the guy was British until I actually realized that the name was his. (I should have been tipped off by that his speech was too perfectly RP to have belonged to a real British person.)

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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