CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS

It should of course be noted that American English is not the only existing variant. There are several other variants where difference from the British standard is normalised. Besides the Irish and Scottish variants that have been mentioned in the preceding paragraph, there are Australian English, Canadian English, Indian English. Each of these has developed a literature of its own, and is characterised by peculiarities in phonetics, spelling, grammar and vocabulary.

Canadian English is influenced both by British and American English but it also has some specific features of its own. Specifically Canadian words are called Canadianisms. They are not very CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS frequent outside Canada, except shack ‘a hut’ and fathom out ‘to explain’.

The vocabulary of all the variants is characterised by a high percentage of borrowings from the language of the people who inhabited the land before the English colonisers came. Many of them denote some specific realia of the new country: local animals, plants or weather conditions, new social relations, new trades and conditions of labour. The local words for new notions penetrate into the English language and later on may become international, if they are of sufficient interest and importance for people speaking other languages CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS.


International words coming through the English of India are for instance: bungalow n, jute n, khaki a, mango n, nabob n, pyjamas, sahib, sari.

Similar examples, though perhaps fewer in number, such as boomerang, dingo, kangaroo, are all adopted into the English language through its Australian variant and became international. They denote the new phenomena found by English immigrants on the new continent. A high percentage of words borrowed from the native inhabitants of Australia will be noticed in the sonorous Australian place names. 1

It has been noticed by a number of linguists that the British attitude to this phenomenon is somewhat CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS peculiar. When anyone other than an Englishman uses English, the natives of Great Britain, often half-consciously, perhaps, feel that they have a special right to criticise his usage because it is “their” language. It is, however, unreasonable with respect to people in the United States, Canada, Australia and some other areas for whom English is their mother tongue. At present there is no single “correct” English and the American, Canadian and Australian English have developed standards of their own. It would therefore have been impossible to attempt a lexicological description of all the variants simultaneously CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN AND INDIAN VARIANTS: the aim of this book was to describe mainly the vocabulary of British English, as it is the British variant that is received and studied in Soviet schools.

1 S.J. Baker quotes a poem consisting of geographical names only:

I like the native names as Paratta
And Illawarra, and Wooloomooloo, Nandowra, Woogarora, Bulkomatta, Tenah, Toongabbie, Mittagong, Merroo...



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