Date: Sat, 23 Apr 1994 16:31:00 GMT


Subject: Articles, Papers or Chapters on American English

I wonder whether I could use the net to canvass opinion about what I should

recommended my 268 first year students in Northern Ireland to read in

conjunction with one lecture to them on American English. What would you

folks like them to be reading?

More precisely, I'm interested in the concept of American English rather

than a structural description and even less a structural comparison

between it and any kind of British English. So I'm interested in:

a) the historical context of AmEng - cf. Algeo's arguments that AmEng is

the righful successor to EModE, etc. So whereas English used to equate

with British English, English noe equates with American English. Of all

varieties of English, AmEng is the great donor variety, and we in the UK

borrow as much asa any other language from AmEng.

b) the present-day context: English is a (also *the*) world language,

and that world English = American English.

c) The 'official language campaign' context - the need to legislate

for English (otherwise unheard of in the history of English) because

for all its world-wide use and fame, it's under threat in its own back


b) The 'ethnic' question: is Ameican English white English? (So here

I take all my examples of BLACK English from toni Morrison's _Beloved_ as that

is the *only* novel on our first year course on the literature side.)

e) Then a little structural description organised as conservative and

innovatory - American English as Elizabethan English vs. American English

at the cutting edge of linguistic invention (and reasons why).

So any got good suggestions where all these sort of points are discussed

in any single place??

After the lecture, there'll be a seminar where, thanks to the list, I've

decided to show this year the video _American Tonguers

(oops Tongues_; (d) came out as (b) above, anyone as any: my apologies -

I do these on-line with very limited scope for correction.)

With many thanks,


The Queen's University of Belfast


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