Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 10:27:25 +0100

From: Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU

Subject: Re: Dialects that could have been -Reply

I sometimes ask this kind of question on my HEL exams. Knowing what you do

about language history, variation, and change, what might have happened if

a. The Normans had lost at Hastings?

b. The war of independence had failed?

I also sometimes ask, "Based on what you know about the history of our

language, what might English be like 100 years from now?"

Of course I prompt students to give examples, state general principles,

show off what they know. I often get good results, and the students seem

to have fun with this type of exercise.

I can imagine other questions of this kind:

c. What if English had been successfully purged of all foreign borrowings?

d. What if the Normans had immigrated in droves to England?

e. What if the South had won the war, y'all? Or the Germans, for that

matter? Or the Mexicans?

and so on. Any others?



Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Department of English office: 217-333-2392

University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321

608 South Wright Street

Urbana, Illinois 61801