By Edgar W. Schneider

The worldwide unfold of English has ended in the emergence of a various variety of postcolonial forms world wide. Postcolonial English presents a transparent and unique account of the evolution of those forms, exploring the historic, social and ecological components that experience formed all degrees in their constitution. It argues that whereas those Englishes have built new and particular houses which fluctuate tremendously from one position to a different, their unfold and diversification can actually be defined by way of a unmarried underlying method, which builds upon the consistent relationships and verbal exchange wishes of the colonizers, the colonized, and different events. Outlining the phases and features of this method, it applies them intimately to English in 16 diversified international locations throughout all continents in addition to, in a separate bankruptcy, to a heritage of yankee English. Of key curiosity to sociolinguists, dialectologists, historic linguists and syntacticians alike, this 2007 booklet offers a desirable new photograph of the expansion and evolution of English world wide.

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They account for the majority of observable cases, but at the same time they are not firm rules, likely to face a counterexample somewhere. In that sense, it is admitted that any theory of language contact is bound to be only a rough approximation to a messy reality, leaking somewhere, as all models do. Mufwene’s (2001b, 2005a) theory of the ‘‘ecology’’ of language evolution, with its focus on contact-induced restructuring and creolization, provides another important frame of reference which, I believe, is in line with my proposal in essential ways.

Classic and widely known cases in point, documented by American sociolinguists, include the centralization of diphthong onsets on Martha’s Vineyard or the backing of the /aI/ diphthong to yield [OI] on Ocracoke (among the so-called hoi toiders on the Outer Banks of North Carolina) as emphasizing orientations toward traditional island lifestyles threatened by recent developments like the growth of tourism (Labov 1972; Wolfram and Schilling-Estes 1996) or the use of certain predication types (like be þ Vin’ or be done) as markers of African-American identities (Labov 1998).

They include the following components at least: the numerical (demographic) and social relationships (including mutual attitudes and power distributions) between the participants in a contact situation, the amount and types of communicative events, the nature of the linguistic input elements, surface similarities and typological degrees of relatedness between the languages involved, and so on.  A continuous ‘‘competition of features’’ (a notion also discussed by Thomason 2001:86–9) goes on between the variants in the pool of linguistic options, so in individual instances an emerging new variety of English consists of elements of both ‘‘diffusion,’’ continuously transmitting elements of the (typically nonstandard) English input, and ‘‘selection,’’ innovations adopted from an indigenous language form (Schneider 2000b).

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