By Robert Burchfield
Quantity five of The Cambridge heritage of the English Language seems on the dialects of britain due to the fact 1776, the historic improvement of English within the former Celtic-speaking international locations of Scotland, Wales and eire, and at different types of English in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia. This exact quantity can be welcomed via all these attracted to the unfold of English all over the world.
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Extra resources for The Cambridge History of the English Language, Vol. 5: English in Britain and Overseas: Origins and Development (Volume 5)
O. Reichmann, H. E. Wiegand and L. ) (1989-91). Worterbucher, Dictionaries, Dictionnaires. 3 vols. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Holm, J. (1988-9). Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kachru, B. B. (1983). Models for non-native Englishes. In B. B. ), The Other Tongue, English across Cultures. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 31-57. (1991). Liberation linguistics and the Quirk concern. English Today 25: 3-13. Michaels, L. & C. ) (1980). The State of the Language. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
In each case an originally monolingual community, for social and political reasons, gradually acquired a second language, namely English, for commercial, administrative and other business. The proportion of people speaking only the original Celtic language grew smaller. In due course the retreat of Welsh and Irish reached a point where the number of bilingual speakers in each country exceeded the number of those who spoke only Welsh or only Irish. Then the stage was reached where the number of monolingual English speakers exceeded the number of bilingual speakers.
Ihalainen (ch. 5) provides a richly detailed account of the history of investigations into the nature and types of dialects in England since 1776: the substantial work done by A. J. Ellis, Joseph Wright, Orton, Trudgill and many others is duly reported, as is the distribution of individual dialects and their future prospects. What remains uncaptured and elusive, however, is perhaps just as important as what has been collected and analysed. We lack an up-to-date dialect dictionary to augment, and possibly to replace, that of Joseph Wright, completed nearly a century ago.