A grammar of_contemporary_english


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A grammar of_contemporary_english

  2. 2. 2LONGMAN GROUP UK LIMITEDLongman House, Burnt Mill, Hartow,Essex CM20 2JE, Englandand Associated Companies throughout the world.© Longman Group Ltd 1972All rights reserved; no part of this publication may bereproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted inany form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, or otherwise, withoutthe prior written permission of the Copyright owner.First published 1972Ninth impression (corrected) 1980Twentieth impression 1992ISBN 0 582 52444 XProduced by Longman Singapore Publishers Pte LtdPrinted in SingaporePREFACEThe first attempts at producing a grammar of English were made when there wereless than ten million speakers of English in the world, almost all of them living within100 miles or so of London. Grammars of English have gone on being written duringthe intervening 400 years reflecting a variety (and growing complexity) of needs,while speakers of English have multiplied several hundredfold and dispersedthemselves so that the language has achieved a uniquely wide spread throughout theworld and, with that, a unique importance.We make no apology for adding one more to the succession of English grammars. Inthe first place, though fairly brief synopses are common enough, there have been veryfew attempts at so comprehensive a coverage as is offered in the present work. Fewerstill in terms of synchronic description. And none at all so comprehensive or in suchdepth has been produced within an English-speaking country. Moreover, ourGrammar aims at this comprehensiveness and depth in treating English irrespective
  3. 3. 3of frontiers: our field is no less than the grammar of educated English current in thesecond half of the twentieth century in the worlds major English-speakingcommunities. Only where a feature belongs specifically to British usage or Americanusage, to informal conversation or to the dignity of formal writing, are labelsintroduced in the description to show that we are no longer discussing the commoncore of educated English.For this common core, as well as for the special varieties surrounding it, we haveaugmented our own experience as speakers and teachers of the language withresearch on corpora of contemporary English and on data from elicitation tests, inboth cases making appropriate use of facilities available in our generation forbringing spoken English fully within the grammarians scope. For reasons ofsimplicity and economic presentation, however, illustrative examples from our basicmaterial are seldom given without being adapted and edited; and while informal andfamiliar styles of speech and writing receive due consideration in our treatment, weput the main emphasis on describing the English of serious exposition.When work on this Grammar began, the four collaborators were all on the staff of theEnglish Department, University College London, and jointly involved in the Surveyof English Usage. This association has happily survived a dispersal which has putconsiderable distances between us (at the extremes, the 5000 miles betweenWisconsin and Europe). Common research goals would thus have kept us in closetouch even without a rather large unified undertaking to complete. AndPreface viivi Prefacethough physical separation has made collaboration more arduous and time-consuming, it has also - we console ourselves in retrospect - conferred positivebenefits. For example, we have been able to extend our linguistic horizons by contactwith linguists bred in several different traditions; and our ideas have been revised andimproved by exposure to far more richly varied groups of students than would havebeenpossible in any one centre.It will be obvious that our grammatical framework has drawn heavily both on thelong-established tradition and on the insights of several contemporary schools oflinguistics. But while we have taken account of modern linguistic theory to the extentthat we think justifiable in a grammar of this kind, we have not felt that this was theoccasion for detailed discussion of theoretical issues. Nor do we see need to justifythe fact that we subscribe to no specific one of the current or recently formulatedlinguistic theories. Each of those propounded from the time of de Saus-sure andJespersen onwards has its undoubted merits, and several (notably thetransformational-generaUve approaches) have contributed very great stimulus to usas to other grammarians. None, however, seems yet adequate to account for alllinguistic phenomena, and recent trends suggest that our own compromise position isa fair reflection of the way in which the major theories are responding to influencefrom others.As well as such general debt to our students, our contemporaries, our teachers and outteachers teachers, there are specific debts to numerous colleagues and friends which
  4. 4. 4we are happy to acknowledge even if we cannot hope to repay. Five linguistsgenerously undertook the heavy burden of reading and criticizing a preliminary draftof the entire book: Dwight L. BoUnger, Bengt Jacobsson, Ruth M. Kempson, EdwardHirschland and Paul Portland. His many friends who have been fortunate enough toreceive comments on even a short research paper will have some idea of how muchwe have profited from Professor Bolingera deep learning, keen intellect, incrediblefacility for producing the devastating counter-example, and - by no means least -readiness to give self-lessly of his time. The other four critics had qualities of thissame kind and (for example) many of our most telling illustrations come from theinvaluable files assembled by Dr Jacobsson over many years of meticulousscholarship.Colleagues working on the Survey of English Usage have of course been repeatedlyinvolved in giving advice and criticism; we are glad to take this opportunity ofexpressing our thanks to Valerie Adams and Derek Davy, Judith Perryman, FlorentAarts and Michael Black, as also to Cindy Kapsos and Pamela Miller.For commentson specific parts, we are grateful to Ross Almqvist and Ulla Thagg (Chapters 3,4, and12), Jacquelyn Biel (especially Chapters 5 and 8), Peter Fries (Chapter 9),A. C. Gimson (Appendix II) and Michael Riddle (Appendix III). The research andwriting have been supported in part by grants from HM Department of Education andScience, the Leverhulme Trust, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the LongmanGroup, the Graduate School Research Committee of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Goteborg, the University of Lund, and University Col-lege London.For what Fredson Bowers has called authorial fair copy expressing final intention,the publisher received from us something more resembling the manuscript ofKilligrews Conspiracy in 1638: a Foul Draught full ofCorrections, Expungings, andAdditions. We owe it largely to Peggy Drinkwaters unswerving concentration thatthis has been transformed into orderly print.March 1972RQ SO GL JSPREFACE TO THE NINTH IMPRESSIONFor the hundreds of improvements incorporated since the first impression, we are inlarge measure indebted to colleagues all over the world who have presented us withdetailed comments, whether in published reviews or in private communications. Inparticular, we should like to express our gratitude to Broder Carstensen, R. A. Close,D. Crystal, R. Dirven, V. Fried, G. Guntram, R. R. K. Hartmann, R. A. Hudson, Y.Ikegami, R. Ilson, S. Jacobson, H. V. King, R. B. Long, Andre Moulin, Y. Murata, N.E. Osselton, M. Rensky, M. L. Samuels, Irene Simon, B. M. H. Strang, GabrieleStein, M. Swan, J. Taglicht, Kathleen Wales, Janet Whitcut, and R. W. Zandvoort.July 1980CONTENTSPreface vSymbols and technical conventions xiOneThe English language 1
  5. 5. 5TwoThe sentence: a preliminary view 33ThreeThe verb phrase 61FourNouns, pronouns, and the basic noun phrase 123FiveAdjectives and adverbs 229SixPrepositions and prepositional phrases 297SevenThe simple sentence 339EightAdjuncts, disjuncts, conjuncts 417NineCoordination and apposition 533TenSentence connection 649ElevenThe complex sentence 717TwelveThe verb and its complementation 799x ContentsThirteenThe complex noun phrase 855FourteenFocus, theme, and emphasis 935Appendix 1Word-formation 973Appendix IIStress, rhythm, and intonation 1033Appendix III Punctuation 1053Bibliography 1083 Index 1093iSYMBOLS AND TECHNICAL CONVENTIONSSince our use of symbols, abbreviations, bracketing and the like follows tbe practicein most works of linguistics, all that we need here is a visual summary of the maintypes of convention with a brief explanation or a reference to where fullerinformation is given.
  6. 6. 6AmE.BrE:American English, British English (c/Chapter 1.19jf).S,V,O,C,AtOtetc:See Chapter 2.3 ff, 3.9/; when italicized, strings of these symbols refer to the clausetypes explained in Chapter 1.2ff.a better GRAMmar |:Capitals in examples indicate nuclear syllables, accents indicate intonation, raisedverticals stress, and long verticals tone unit boundaries: see Appendix ll.iff, 12.^when DO is used: (Capitals in description indicate basic forms abstracted from the set -j ofmorphological variants (we do, she does, they did,...)*a more better one:A preceding asterisk indicates an unacceptable structure.?they seem fools:A preceding question mark indicates doubtful acceptability; combined with anasterisk it suggests virtual unacceptability.Help me (to) write:Parentheses indicate optional items.Help me with my work [42]Bracketed numerals appear after examples when required for cross-reference.4-37;AppI,12:Cross-references to material other than examples are given by chapter {or appendix)and section number.Bolinger (1971a):References to other published work (see 2.27) are expanded in the Bibliography, pp1085jf.(to "WXondon ^.from/tNew York Curved braces indicate free alternatives. XIISymbols and technical conventionsbest:j LherjSquare brackets indicate contingent alternatives; eg selection of the top one in thefirst pair entails selection of the top one in the second also.{His [expensive (house insurance)]}:Contrasting brackets can be used to give a linear indication ofhierarchical structure.[$ju]lphew:Square brackets enclose phonetic symbols; the IPA conventionsare followed (c/Jones (1969), pp xxxiiff)./justs/used to:Slants enclose phonemic transcription, with conventions generally as in Jones (1969)and Kenyon and Knott (1953), but the followingshould be noted:
  7. 7. 7jej as in best, /i/ bid, Ill beat, /d/ hot, /o/ law, /a/ father, juj full, lajfool, /3(r)/ bird,parentheses here denoting the possibility (eg in AmE) of postvocalic rONETHE ENGLISH LANGUAGE1.1-7 The importance of English .1-2 Criteria of importance ,3-4 Native, second, andforeign language .5-7 The demand for English,5 The teaching of English.6 A lingua franca in science and scholarship.7 International character of English1.8-14 Grammar and the study of language .8-9 Types of linguistic organization.8 Sounds and spellings .9 Lexicology, semantics, grammar .10-14 The meanings ofgrammar .10 Syntax and inflections .11 Rules and the native speaker .12 Thecodification of rules .13 Grammar and other types of organization .14 Grammar andgeneralization1.15-37 Varieties of English and classes of varieties .16-17 Regional variation ■18Education and social standing .19 Standard English .20-22 National standards ofEnglish.20 British and American English.21 Scotland, Ireland, Canada.22 South Africa, Australia, New Zealand .23 Pronunciation and Standard English■24 Varieties according to subject matter ■25-26 Varieties according to medium •27-29 Varieties according to attitude ■30-32 Varieties according to interference•32 Creole and Pidgin.33-35 Relationship between variety classes ■36-37 Varieties within a variety2 2 3 4 4 5 67777889 10 10 1113 14 15 16 17 17 18 18 19 20 22 23 25 .26 27 30The importance of English 3The importance of EnglishCriteria of importance1.1English is the worlds most important language. Even at a time when such a statementis taken as a long-standing truism, it is perhaps worthwhile to glance briefly at thebasis on which it is made. There are, after all, thousands of different languages in theworld, and it is in the nature of language that each one seems uniquely important tothose who speak it as their native language - that is, their first (normally sole) tongue:
  8. 8. 8the language they acquired at their mothers knee. But there are more objectivestandards of relative importance.One criterion is the number of native speakers that a language happens to have. Asecond is the extent to which a language is geographically dispersed: in how manycontinents and countries is it used or is a knowledge of it necessary? A third is itsvehicular load: to what extent is it a medium for a science or literature or otherhighly regarded cultural manifestation - including way of life? A fourth is theeconomic and political influence of those who speak it as their own language.1.2None of these is trivial but not all would unambiguously identify English. Indeed thefirst would make English a very poor second to Chinese (which has double thenumber of speakers) and would put English not appreciably in front of Hindi-Urdu.The second clearly makes English a front runner but also invites consideration ofHebrew, Latin and Arabic, for example, as languages used in major world religions,though only the last mentioned would be thought of in connection with the firstcriterion. By the third criterion, the great literatures of the Orient spring to mind, notto mention the languages of Tolstoy, Goethe, Cervantes and Racine. But in additionto being the language of the analogous Shakespeare, English scores as being theprimary medium for twentieth-century science and technology. The fourth criterioninvokes Japanese, Russian and German, for example, as languages of powerful,productive and influential communities. But English is the language of the UnitedStates which - to take one crude but objective measure - has a larger Gross NationalProduct1 (both in total and in relation to the population) than any other country in theworld. Indeed the combined GNP of the USA, Canada and Britain is 50 per centhigher than that of the remaining OECD countries (broadly speaking, continentalEurope plus Japan) put together: c/Organization for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment, Main Economic Indicators, June 1971. What emerges strikingly aboutEnglish is that by any of the criteria itis prominent, by some it is pre-eminent, and by a combination of the four it issuperlatively outstanding. Notice that no claim has been made for the importance ofEnglish on the grounds of its quality as a language (the size of its vocabulary, thealleged flexibility of its syntax). It has been rightly said that the choice of aninternational language, or lingua franca, is never based on linguistic or aestheticcriteria but always on political, economic, and demographic ones.Native, second, and foreign language 1.3English is the worlds most widely used language. It is useful to distinguish threeprimary categories of use: as a native language, as a second language, and as aforeign language. English is spoken as a native language by nearly three hundredmillion people: in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand,Canada, the Caribbean and South Africa, without mentioning smaller countries orsmaller pockets of native English speakers (for example in Rhodesia and Kenya). Inseveral of these countries, English is not the sole language: the Quebec province ofCanada is French-speaking, much of South Africa is Afrikaans-speaking, and formany Irish and Welsh people, English is not the native language. But for theseWelsh, Irish, Quebccois and Afrikaners, English will even so be a second language:
  9. 9. 9that is, a language necessary for certain official, social, commercial or educationalactivities within their own country. This second-language function is morenoteworthy, however, in a long list of countries where only a small proportion of thepeople have English as their native language: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya andmany other Commonwealth countries and former British territories. Thus, a quarterof a century after independence, India maintains English as the medium of instructionfor approximately half of its total higher education. English is the second language incountries of such divergent backgrounds as the Philippines and Ethiopia, while innumerous other countries (Burma, Thailand, South Korea and some Middle Easterncountries, for example) it has a second language status in respect of higher education.It is one of the two working languages of the United Nalions and of the two it is byfar the more frequently used both in debate and in general conduct of UN business.1-4By foreign language we mean a language as used by someone for communicationacross frontiers or with people who are not his countrymen": listening to broadcasts,reading books or newspapers, commerce or travel, for example. No language is morewidely studied or used as a4 The English languageforeign language than English. The desire to learn it is immense and apparentlyinsatiable. American organizations such as the United States Information Agency andthe Voice of America have played a notable role in recent years, in close andamicable liaison with the British Council which provides support for English teachingboth in the Commonwealth and in foreign countries throughout the world. The BBC,like the USIS, has notable radio and television facilities devoted to this purpose.Other English-speaking countries such as Australia also assume heavyresponsibilities for teaching English as a foreign language. Taking the educationsystems of the world as a whole, one may say confidently (if perhaps ruefully) thatmore timetable hours are devoted to English than any other subject.We shall look more closely in the next section at the kind and degree of demand, butmeantime the reasons for the demand have surely become clear. To put it bluntly,English is a top requirement of those seeking good jobs - and is often the language inwhich much of the business of good jobs is conducted. One needs it for access to atleast one half of the worlds scientific literature. It is thus intimately associated withtechnological and economic development and it is the principal language ofinternational aid. Not only is it the universal language of international aviation,shipping and sport: it is to a considerable degree the universal language of literacyand public communication. Siegfried Muller (former Director of the Languages-of-the-World Archives in the US Department of Education) has estimated that about 60per cent of the worlds radio broadcasts and 70 per cent of the worlds mail are inEnglish. The great manufacturing countries Germany and Japan use English as theirprincipal advertising and sales medium; it is the language of automation andcomputer technology.The demand for English 1.5The teaching of EnglishThe role of chief foreign language that French occupied for two centuries from about1700, therefore, has been undoubtedly assumed by English - except of course in the
  10. 10. 10English-speaking countries themselves, where French is challenged only by Spanishas the foreign language most widely studied. Although patriotism obligesinternational organizations to devote far more resources to translation and interpreterservices than reason would dictate, no senior post would be offered to a candidatedeficient in English. The equivalent of the nineteenth-century European finishingschool in French now provides a liberal education in English, whether located inSussex or in Switzerland. But a more general equivalent is perhaps the English-medium school organized through the stateTha Importance of English 5education system, and such institutions seem to be even more numerous in the SovietUnion and other east European countries than in countries to the west. More generalstill, of course, is the language work in the ordinary schools, and in this connectionthe introduction at the primary (pie-lycee, pre-Gymnasium) level of foreign languageteaching has meant a sharp but almost accidental increase in English teaching and inthe demand for English teachers. That is, if a foreign language is to be taught at theprimary level, what other language should the French or German schools teach butEnglish? And if children already have some English before entering secondaryeducation, what more obvious than to continue with this particular foreign language,making any other language at secondary level a lower priority option, learned to aless adequate degree?To take France as an example, in the academic year 1968-69, English was beinglearned as first foreign language by 80 per cent of secondary school pupils, thenearest rival being German with 16 per cent. When we include those who study it astheir second foreign language, we have a total of over two million teenagers studyingEnglish in France, a country with a tradition for teaching several other Europeanlanguages-Spanish in the south-west, Italian in the south-east and German in thenortheast.1.6A lingua franca in science and scholarshipWe might refer also to an inquiry recently made into the use of foreign languages bythe learned community in French-speaking territories. It transpired that 90 per centfound it necessary to use books in English -and this percentage included scholarswhose research lay in the field of French literature. Perhaps even more significant:about 25 per cent preferred to publish their scholarly and scientific papers in English.The latter point is strikingly paralleled in Italy and Germany. About 1950, the Italianphysics journal Nuovo Cimenlo decided to admit papers in languages other thanItalian; in less than 20 years the proportion of papers published in Italian fell from100 per cent to zero and the proportion of papers published in English rose from zeroto 100 per cent. A German example: between 1962 and 1968 alone the proportion ofarticles published in English in Physikalische Zeitschrift rose from 2 per cent to 50per cent. In both these cases, the change may in part be due to the editors acceptanceof papers by American, British and other English-speaking physicists, but for themost part one would surely be right in thinking that it reflects the European scientistsdesire to share their research most efficiently with their colleagues all over the world
  11. 11. 11by means of the twentieth-century lingua franca. Telling evidence of this is pro-6The English languagevided by the European journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in which two-thirds ofthe contributions by French scientists are in English, and by the official publication ofthe Agence Internationale de 1finergie Atomique, Nuclear Fusion, where all articlesare in English, despite the fact that the Agency is subsidized by the FrenchGovernment.1.7International character of EnglishFor the foregoing observations, we have deliberately drawn heavily on the work of anoutstandingly qualified Frenchman, Denis Girard, In-specteur Regional delAcademie de Paris, in order to insure ourselves against the danger of overstating theimportance of English, and to assure ourselves of seeing English measured in termsof international values. Not that one is tempted to do otherwise. English, which wehave referred to as a lingua franca, is pre-eminently the most international oflanguages. Though the mention of the language may at once remind us of England,on the one hand, or cause association with the might of the United States on the other,it carries less implication of political or cultural specificity than any other livingtongue (with French and Spanish also notable in this respect). At one and the sametime, it serves the daily purposes of republics such as the United States and SouthAfrica, sharply different in size, population, climate, economy and nationalphilosophy; and it serves an ancient kingdom such as Britain, as well as her widelyscattered Commonwealth partners, themselves as different from each other as theyare from Britain herself.But the cultural neutrality of English must not be pressed too far. The literal ormetaphorical use of such expressions as case law throughout the English-speakingworld reflects a common heritage in our legal system; and allusions to or quotationsfrom Shakespeare, the Authorized Version, Grays Elegy, Mark Twain, a sea shanty,a Negro spiritual or a Beatles song - wittingly or not - testify similarly to a sharedculture. The Continent means continental Europe as readily in America and evenAustralia and New Zealand as it does in Britain. At other times, English equallyreflects the independent and distinct culture of one or other of the English-speakingcommunities. When an Australian speaks of fossicking something out (searching forsomething), the metaphor looks back to the desperate activity of reworking thediggings of someone else in the hope of finding gold that had been overlooked. Whenan American speaks of not getting to first base (not achieving even initial success),the metaphor concerns an equally culture-specific activity - the game of baseball.And when an Englishman says that something is not cricket (unfair), the allusion isalso to a game that is by no means universal in the English-speaking countries.Grammar and the study of language 7Grammar and the study of languageTypes of linguistic organization1.8Sounds and spellings
  12. 12. 12The claim is, therefore, that on the one hand there is a single English language (thegrammar of which is the concern of this book), but that on the other there arerecognizable varieties. Since these varieties can have reflexes in any of the types oforganization that the linguist distinguishes, this is the point at which we shouldoutline these types of organization (or levels as they are sometimes called), one ofwhich is grammar. When someone communicates with us by means of language, henormally does so by causing us to hear a stream of sounds. We hear the sounds not asindefinitely variable in acoustic quality (however much they may be so in actualphysical fact). Rather, we hear them as each corresponding to one of a very small set(in English, /p/, /!/, /n/, jij, /5/, /s/...) which can combine in certain ways and notothers. For example, in English we have spin but not *psin, our use of the asteriskhere and elsewhere in this book denoting non-occurring or unacceptable forms. Wesimilarly observe patterns of stress and pitch. The sounds made in a particularlanguage and the rules for their organization are studied in the branch of linguisticsknown as phonology, while their physical properties and their manner of articulationare studied in PHONETICS.Another major method of linguistic communication is by visual signs, that is, writing;and for English as for many other languages there has been developed an alphabeticwriting system with symbols basically related to the individual sounds used in thelanguage. Here again there is a closely structured organization which regards certaindifferences in shape as irrelevant and others (for example capitals versus lower case,ascenders to the left or right of a circle - b versus d) as significant. The study ofgraphology or orthography thus parallels the study of phonology in several obviousways. Despite the notorious oddities of English spelling, there are important generalprinciples: eg combinations of letters that English permits (tch, qu, ss, oo) and othersthat are disallowed (*pfx, *qi, *yy) or have only restricted distribution (final v or joccurs only exceptionally as in Raj, spiv).1.9Lexicology, semantics, grammarJust as the small set of arabic numerals can be combined to express in writing anynatural numbers we like, however vast, so the small set of sounds and letters can becombined to express in speech or writing respectively an indefinitely large number ofwords. These linguistic units en-8 The English languageable people to refer to every object, action and quality that members of a society wishto distinguish: in English, door, soap, indignation, find, stupefy, good, uncontrollable,and so on to a total in the region of at least half a million. These units of languagehave a meaning and a structure (sometimes an obviously composite structure as incases like uncontrollable) which relate them not only to the world outside languagebut to other words within the language (good, bad, kind, etc). The study of words isthe business of lexicology but the regularities in their formation are similar in kind tothe regularities of grammar and are closely connected to them (cf App 1.1 ff).Meaning relations as a whole are the business of semantics, the study of meaning,and this therefore has relevance equally within lexicology and within grammar.There is one further type of organization. The words that have been identified bysound or spelling must be combined into larger units and it is the complex set of rules
  13. 13. 13specifying such combination that we refer to as grammar. This word has variouscommon meanings in English (as in other languages: cf: grammaire, Grammatik) andsince it is the subject matter of this book some of its chief meanings should beexplored.The meanings of grammar 1.10Syntax and inflectionsWe shall be using grammar to include both syntax and the inflections (or accidence)of morphology. The fact that the past tense of buy is bought (inflection) and the factthat the interrogative form of He bought it is Did he buy it ? (syntax) are thereforeboth equally the province of grammar. There is nothing esoteric or technical aboutour usage in this respect: it corresponds to one of the common lay uses of the word inthe English-speaking world. A teacher may commentJohn uses good grammar but his spelling is awfulshowing that spelling is excluded from grammar; and if John wrote interloper wherethe context demanded interpreter, the teacher would say that he had used the wrongword, not that he had made a mistake in grammar. So far so good. But in theeducation systems of the English-speaking countries, it is possible also to use theterm grammar loosely so as to include both spelling and lexicology, and we need tobe on our guard so that we recognize when the word is used in so sharply different away. A grammar lesson for children may in fact be concerned with any aspect of theuse, history, spelling or even pronunciation of words.When grammar is prefixed to school (as it is in several English-speaking countries,though not always with reference to the same type ofGrammar and the study of language 9school), the term reflects the historical fact that certain schools concentrated at onetime upon the teaching of Latin and Greek. This is the grammar in their name. Noserious ambiguity arises from this, though one sometimes comes upon the laysupposition that such schools do or should make a special effort to teach Englishgrammar. But there is a further use of grammar which springs indirectly from thiseducational tradition. It makes sense for the lay native speaker to sayLatin has a good deal of grammar, but English has hardly anysince the aspect of Latin grammar on which we have traditionally concentrated is theparadigms (model sets) of inflections. This in effect meant that grammar becameidentified with inflections or accidence, so that we can still speak of grammar andsyntax in this connection, tacitly ex-clud ing the latter from the former. And since allof the uses of grammar so far illustrated might appear in the speech or writing of thesame person, the possibilities of misunderstanding are very real.1.11Rules and the native speakerNor have we completed the inventory of meanings. The same native speaker, turninghis attention from Latin, may comment:French has a well-defined grammar, but in English were free to speak as we likeSeveral points need to be made here. To begin with, it is clear that the speaker cannotnow be intending to restrict grammar to inflections: rather the converse; it wouldseem to be used as a virtual synonym of syntax.
  14. 14. 14Secondly, the native speakers comment probably owes a good deal to the fact that hedoes not feel the rules of his own language - rules that he has acquired unconsciously- to be at all constraining; and if ever he happens to be called on to explain one suchrule to a foreigner he has very great difficulty. By contrast, the grammatical rules helearns for a foreign language seem much more rigid and they also seem clearer be-cause they have been actually spelled out to him in the learning process.But another important point is revealed in this sentence. The distinction refers togrammar not as the observed patterns in the use of French but to a codification ofrules compiled by the French to show the French themselves how their languageshould be used. This is not grammar immanent in a language (as our previous useswere, however much they differed in the types of pattern they referredto), butgrammar as codified by grammarians: the Academy Grammar. There is no such10The English languageAcademy for the English language and so (our naive native speakerimagines) the English speaker has more freedom in his usage.1.12The codification of rulesThe codification sense of grammar is readily identified with the specific codificationby a specific grammarian:Jespersen wrote a good grammar, and so did Kruisinga and this sense naturally leadsto the concrete use as in Did you bring your grammars ?and naturally, too, the codification may refer to grammar in any of the senses alreadymentioned. A French grammar will be devoted very largely to syntax, while accidentsof intellectual history in the nineteenth century lead one to treat without surprise thefact that an Old High German grammar (or an Old English grammar) may wellcontain only inflections together with a detailed explanation of how the phonologicalsystem emerged.The codification will also vary, however, according to the linguistic theory embracedby the author, his idea of the nature of grammar per se rather than his statement of thegrammar of a particular language:Shaumjan has devised a grammar interestingly different from ChomskysIt is important to realize that, in the usage of many leading linguists, this last sense ofgrammar has returned to the catholicity that it had in the Greek tradition more thantwo thousand years ago, covering the whole field of language structure. Thus, in theframework of formal linguistics, contemporary generative grammarians will speak ofthe grammar as embracing rules not only for syntax but for phonological, lexical andsemantic specification as well.1.13Grammar and other types of organizationProgress towards a more explicit type of grammatical description is inevitably slowand the whole field of grammar is likely to remain an area of interesting controversy.While theoretical problems are not the concern of this book, our treatment cannot beneutral on the issues that enliven current discussion. For example, we would not wishto assert the total independence of grammar from phonology on the one hand and
  15. 15. 15lexico-semantics on the other as was implied in the deliberate oversimplification of1.8/. Phonology is seen to have a bearing on grammarGrammar and the study of language 11even in small points such as the association of initial /5/ with demon-strativeness andconjunction (this, then, though, etc: 2.13). It is seen to bear on lexicology, forexample, in the fact that numerous nouns and verbs differ only in the position of astress (App 1.43, App II.5):That is an insult They may insult meBut most obviously the interdependence of phonology and grammar is shown infocus processes (cf the connection between intonation and linear presentation: 14.2-7), and in the fact that by merely altering the phonology one can distinguish sets ofsentences like those quoted in App 11.20.The interrelations of grammar, lexicology and semantics are still more pervasive. Totake an obvious example, the set of sentencesJohn hated the shed John painted the shed Fear replaced indecisionhave a great deal in common that must be described in terms of grammar. They havethe same tense (past), the same structure (subject plus verb plus object), will permitthe same syntactic operations as inThe shed was painted by JohnDid John paint the shed?It was John that painted the shedUp to a point they will also permit the permutation of their parts so that theabstraction subject - verb - object appears to be an adequate analysis:John replaced the shed John hated indecisionBut by no means all permutations are possible:*Fear painted the shed •Fear hated indecision •John replaced indecisionTo what extent should the constraints disallowing such sentences be accounted for inthe grammatical description? Questions of this kind will remain intenselycontroversial for a long time, and little guidance on the problems involved can begiven in this book (c/however 7.37-38).1.14Grammar and generalizationOur general principle will be to regard grammar as accounting for constructionswhere greatest generalization is possible, assigning to lexi-12 The English languagecology constructions on which least generalization can be formulated (whichapproach, that is, the idiosyncratic and idiomatic). The gradient of greatest to leastin the previous sentence admits at once the unfortunate necessity for arbitrarydecision. Confronted with the correspondences:He spoke these words He wrote these wordsThe speaker of these words The writer of these wordswe will wish to describe within grammar the way in which items in the first columncan be transformed into the shape given them in the second. But this will leave uswith second column items such as0The author of these words
  16. 16. 16for which there is no first-column source. This particular example, we may agree,raises no semantic problem: there is merely a lexicological gap in the language - noverb *auth. But we have also first-column items for which there is no second-columntransform:He watched the play «->■ 0Here we cannot account for the constraint in terms of a lexical gap, but we may bevery uncertain as to whether it is a problem for lexicology or grammar (c/App 1.24).One further example:He spattered the wall with oilHe smeared the wall with oilHe rubbed the wall with oilHe dirtied the wall with oil•He poured the wall with oilIt is not easy to decide whether we should try to account within grammar for theimbalance in relating items from such a set to alternative predication forms (12.62/):He spattered oil on the wallHe smeared oil on the wallHe rubbed oil on the wall*He dirtied oil on the wallHe poured oil on the wallThe question is not merely how minimally general must a rule be before it ceases tobe worth presenting within grammar but one of much deeper theoretical concern:what, if anything, ultimately distinguishes a rule of grammar from a rule ofsemantics? Provided that we can remember at all times that such questions remainmatters for debate, no harm is done by offering - as we do in this book - someprovisional answers.Varieties ci English and classes of varieties 13Varieties of English and classes of varieties1.15Having established, subject to these important qualifications, the extent to which wemay speak of different types of linguistic organization such as phonology, lexicologyand grammar, we may now return to the point we had reached at the beginning of 1.8.What are the varieties of English whose differing properties are realized through theseveral types of linguistic organization ?A great deal has been written in recent years attempting to provide a theoretical basison which the varieties of any language can be described, interrelated and studied: it isone of the prime concerns of the relatively new branch of language study calledsociolinguistics. The problem is formidable, we are far from having completeanswers, and all attempts are in some degree an oversimplification. It may help nowto consider one such oversimplification for the purposes of this book. First, ananalogy. The properties of dog-ness can be seen in both terrier and alsa-tian (and, wemust presume, equally), yet no single variety of dog embodies all the features presentin all varieties of dog. In a somewhat similar way, we need to see a common core ornucleus that we call English being realized only in the different actual varieties of
  17. 17. 17the language that we hear or read. Let us imagine six kinds of varieties ranged asbelow and interrelated in ways we shall attempt to explain.THE COMMON CORE OF ENGLISHVARIETY CLASSESRegion:Education and social standing:Subject matter:Medium:Attitude:Interference:VARIETIES WITHIN EACH CLASS •M) R-2* R31 *Mt ■ ■ •Ei, Ea, E3, Ei(...Si, S2,*-_S3, S4,...*Mi,i. _Ma,..--J-______---/Ai, A2,*.______A3, A4,. -.Ij) ai *3i14 The English languageThe fact that in this figure the common core dominates all the varieties means that,however esoteric or remote a variety may be, it has running through it a set ofgrammatical and other characteristics that are present in all others. It is presumablythis fact that justifies the application of the name English to all the varieties. Fromthis initial point onwards, it will be noted that nothing resembling a noded treestructure is suggested: instead, it is claimed by the sets of braces that each varietyclass is related equally and at all points to each of the other variety classes. We shallhowever return and make qualifications to this claim. The classes themselves arearranged in a meaningful order and the justification will become clear in whatfollows.Regional variation1.16Varieties according to region have a well-established label both in popular andtechnical use: dialects. Geographical dispersion is in fact the classic basis forlinguistic variation, and in the course of time, with poor communications and relativeremoteness, such dispersion results in dialects becoming so distinct that we regardthem as different languages. This latter stage was long ago reached with theGermanic dialects that are now Dutch, English, German, Swedish, etc, but it has not
  18. 18. 18been reached (and may not necessarily ever be reached, given the modern ease ofcommunication) with the dialects of English that have resulted from the regionalseparation of communities within the British Isles and (since the voyages ofexploration and settlement in Shakespeares time)elsewhere in the world.Regional variation seems to be realized predominantly in phonology That is, wegenerally recognize a different dialect from a speakers pronunciation or accent beforewe notice that his vocabulary (or lexicon) is also distinctive. Grammatical variationtends to be less extensive and certainly less obtrusive. But all types of linguisticorganization can readily enough be involved. A Lancashire man may be recognizedby a Yorkshireman because he pronounces an /r/ after vowels as in stir or hurt. Amiddy is an Australian measure for beer - but it refers to a considerably biggermeasure in Sydney than it does in Perth. Instead of / saw it, a New Englander mightsay / see it, a Pennsylvanian / seen it and a Virginian either / seen it or / seed it, ifthey were speaking the natural dialect of their locality, and the same formsdistinguish certain dialects within Britain too.NoteThe attitude of native speakers to other peoples dialect varies greatly, but, in genera],dialects of rural and agricultural communities are retarded as more pleasant thanVarieties of English and classes of varieties 15dialects of large urban communities such as New York or Birmingham. This is con-nected, of course, with social attitudes and the association of city dialects with varia-tion according to education and social standing (1.13) rather than region.1.17It is pointless to ask how many dialects of English there are: there are indefinitelymany, depending solely on how detailed we wish to be in our observations. But theyare of course more obviously numerous in the long-settled Britain than in the morerecently settled North America or in the still more recently settled Australia and NewZealand. The degree of generality in our observation depends crucially upon ourstandpoint as well as upon our experience. An Englishman will hear an AmericanSoutherner primarily as an American and only as a Southerner in addition if furthersubclassification is called for and if his experience of American English dialectsenables him to make it. To an American the same speaker will be heard first as aSoutherner and then (subject to similar conditions) as, say, a Virginian, and thenperhaps as a Piedmont Virginian. One might suggest some broad dialectal divisionswhich are rather generally recognized. Within North America, most people would beable to distinguish Canadian, New England, Midland, and Southern varieties ofEnglish. Within the British Isles, Irish, Scots, Northern, Midland, Welsh, South-western, and London varieties would be recognized with similar generality. Some ofthese - Irish and Scots for example - would be recognized as such by manyAmericans and Australians too, while in Britain many people could makesubdivisions: Ulster and Southern might be distinguished within Irish, for example,and Yorkshire picked out as an important subdivision of northern speech. Britishpeople can also, of course, distinguish North Americans from all others (though notusually Canadians from Americans), South Africans from Australians and
  19. 19. 19NewZealanders (though mistakes are frequent), but not usually Australians from NewZealanders.1.18Education and social standingWithin each of the dialect areas, there is considerable variation in speech according toeducation and social standing. There is an important polarity of uneducated andeducated speech in which the former can be identified with the regional dialect mostcompletely and the latter moves away from dialectal usage to a form of English thatcuts across dialectal boundaries. To revert to an example given in a previous section,one would have to look rather hard (or be a skilled dialectologist) to find, as anoutsider, a New Englander who said see for saw, a Pennsylvanian who said seen, anda Virginian who said seed. These are forms that tend to be replaced by saw withschooling, and in speaking to a stranger a dialect16 The English languagespeaker would tend to use school forms. On the other hand, there is no simpleequation of dialectal and uneducated English. Just as educated English (/ saw) cutsacross dialectal boundaries, so do many features of uneducated use: a prominentexample is the double negative as in I dont want no cake, which has been outlawedfrom all educated English by the prescriptive grammar tradition for hundreds of yearsbut which continues to thrive in uneducated speech wherever English is spoken.Educated speech - by definition the language of education - naturally tends to begiven the additional prestige of government agencies, the learned professions, thepolitical parties, the press, the law court and the pulpit - any institution which mustattempt to address itself to a public beyond the smallest dialectal community. Thegeneral acceptance of BBC English for this purpose over almost half a century isparalleled by a similar designation for general educated idiom in the United States,network English*. By reason of the fact that educated English is thus accordedimplicit social and political sanction, it comes to be referred to as Standard English,and provided we remember that this does not mean an English that has been formallystandardized by official action, as weights and measures are standardized, the term isuseful and appropriate. In contrast with Standard English, forms that are especiallyassociated with uneducated (rather than dialectal) use are often called substandard.1.19Standard EnglishThe degree of acceptance of a single standard of English throughout the world, acrossa multiplicity of political and social systems, is a truly remarkable phenomenon: themore so since the extent of the uniformity involved has, if anything, increased in thepresent century. Uniformity is greatest in what is from most viewpoints the leastimportant type of linguistic organization - the purely secondary one of orthography.Although printing houses in all English-speaking countries retain a tiny element ofindividual decision (realize, -ise; judg(e)ment; etc), there is basically a single,graphological spelling and punctuation system throughout: with two minorsubsystems. The one is the subsystem with British orientation (used in all English-speaking countries except the United States) with distinctive forms in only a smallclass of words, colour, centre, levelled, etc. The other is the American subsystem:color, center, leveled, etc. In Canada, the British subsystem is used for the most part,
  20. 20. 20but some publishers (especially of popular material) follow the American subsystemand some a mixture (color but centre). In the American Mid-West, some newspaperpublishers (but not book publishers) use a few additional separate spellings such asthru for through. One minorVarieties of English and classes of varieties 17orthographic point is oddly capable of Anglo-American misunderstanding: thenumerical form of dates. In British (and European) practice *7/U/72 would mean 7November 1972, but in American practice it would meanJuly 11 1972.In grammar and vocabulary, Standard English presents somewhat less of a monolithiccharacter, but even so the world-wide agreement is extraordinary and - as has beensuggested earlier - seems actually to be increasing under the impact of closer worldcommunication and the spread of identical material and non-material culture. Theuniformity is especially close in neutral or formal styles (1.27) of written English(1.25) on subject matter (1.24) not of obviously localized interest: in such circum-stances one can frequently go on for page after page without encountering a featurewhich would identify the English as belonging to one of the national standards.National standards of English 1.20British and American EnglishWhat we are calling national standards should be seen as distinct from the StandardEnglish which we have been discussing and which we should think of as beingsupra-national, embracing what is common to all. Again, as with orthography, thereare two national standards that are overwhelmingly predominant both in the numberof distinctive usages and in the degree to which these distinctions are institution-alized: American English and British English. Grammatical differences are few andthe most conspicuous are widely known to speakers of both national standards; thefact that AmE has two past participles for get and BrE only one (3.68), for example,and that in BrE the indefinite pronoun one is repeated in co-reference where AmEuses he (4.126) as inOne cannot succeed at this unlessfonei . . he Jtries hardLexical examples are far more numerous, but many of these are also familiar to usersof both standards: for example, railway (BrE), railroad (AmE); tap (BrE), faucet(AmE); autumn (BrE), fall (AmE). More recent lexical innovations in either area tendto spread rapidly to the other. Thus while radio sets have had valves in BrE but tubesin AmE, television sets have tubes in both, and transistors are likewise used in bothstandards. The United States and Britain have been separate political entities for twocenturies; for generations, thousands of books have been appearing annually; there isa long tradition of publishing descriptions of both AmE and BrE. These are importantfactors in establishing and institutionalizing the two national standards, and in therelative absence of such!] 18 The English languageconditions other national standards are both less distinct (being more open to theinfluence of either AmE or BrE) and less institutionalized.1.21
  21. 21. 21Scotland, Ireland, CanadaScots, with ancient national and educational institutions, is perhaps nearest to theself-confident independence of BrE and AmE, though the differences in grammar andvocabulary are rather few. There is the preposition outwith except and some othergrammatical features, and such lexical items as advocate in the sense practisinglawyer or bailie municipal magistrate and several others which, like this, refer toScottish affairs. Orthography is identical with BrE though burgh corresponds closelyto borough in meaning and might almost be regarded as a spelling variant. But thisrefers only to official Scots usage. In the Lallans Scots, which has some currencyfor literary purposes, we have a highly independent set of lexical, grammatical,phonological and orthographical conventions, all of which make it seem more like aseparate languagethan a regional dialect.Irish (or Hibemo-) English should also be regarded as a national standard, for thoughwe lack descriptions of this long-standing variety of English it is consciously andexplicitly regarded as independent of BrE by educational and broadcasting services.The proximity of Britain, the easy movement of population, and like factors meanhowever that there is little room for the assertion and development of separategrammar and vocabulary. In fact it is probable that the influence of BrE (and evenAmE) is so great on both Scots and Irish English that independent features willdiminish rather than increase with time.Canadian English is in a similar position in relation to AmE. Close economic, social,and intellectual links along a 4000-mile frontier have naturally caused the largercommunity to have an enormous influence on the smaller, not least in language.Though in many respects (zed instead of zee, for example, as the name of the letterz), Canadian English follows British rather than United States practice, and has amodest area of independent lexical use (pogey welfare payment,ridingparliamentary constituency, muskeg kind of bog), in many other respects ithas approximated to AmE, and in the absence of strong institutionalizing forces itseems likely to continue in this direction.1.22South Africa, Australia, New ZealandSouth Africa, Australia and New Zealand are in a very different position, remotefrom the direct day-to-day impact of either BrE or ArnE. While in orthography andgrammar the South African English in educated useVarieties of English and classes of varieties 19is virtually identical with BrE, rather considerable differences in vocabulary havedeveloped, largely under the influence of the other official language of the country,Afrikaans. For example, veldopen country, koppie hillock, dorp village, konfytcandied peel. Because of the remoteness from Britain or America, few of thesewords have spread: an exception is trek journey.New Zealand English is more like BrE than any other non-European variety, thoughit has adopted quite a number of words from the indigenous Maoris (for example,whore hut and of course kiwi and other names for fauna and flora) and over the past
  22. 22. 22half century has come under the powerful influence of Australia and to a considerableextent of the United States.Australian English is undoubtedly the dominant form of English in the Antipodes andby reason of Australias increased wealth, population and influence in world affairs,this national standard (though still by no means fully institutionalized) is exerting aninfluence in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Britain. Much of what isdistinctive in Australian English is confined to familiar use. This is especially so ofgrammatical features like adverbial but or the use of the feminine pronoun bothanaphorically for an inanimate noun (Job... her) and also impersonally and non-referentially for things in general:The jobs still not done; Ill finish her this arvo, but(... it this afternoon, however.) Are you feeling better? Too right, mate; shell bejake.(*... Absolutely, old man; everything will be fine.)But there are many lexical items that are to be regarded as fully standard : not merelythe special fauna and flora (kangaroo, gumtree, wattle, etc) but special Australianuses of familiar words {paddock as a general word for field, crook ill, etc), andspecial Australian words (bowyang a trouser strap, waddy a bludgeon, etc).1.23Pronunciation and standard EnglishThis list does not exhaust the regional or national variants that approximate to thestatus of a standard (the Caribbean might be mentioned, for example), but theimportant point to stress is that all of them are remarkable primarily in the tiny extentto which even the most firmly established, BrE and AmE, differ from each other invocabulary, grammar and orthography. We have been careful, however, not tomention pronunciation in this connection. Pronunciation is a special case for severalreasons. In the first place, it is the type of linguistic organization (1.8) 20 TheEnglish languageVarieties of English and classes of varieties 21which distinguishes one national standard from another most immediately andcompletely and which links in a most obvious way the national standards to theregional varieties. Secondly (with an important exception to be noted), it is the leastinstitutionalized aspect of Standard English, in the sense that, provided our grammarand lexical items conform to the appropriate national standard, it matters less that ourpronunciation follows closely our individual regional pattern. This is doubtlessbecause pronunciation is essentially gradient, a matter ofmore or less rather than thediscrete this or that features of grammar and lexicon. Thirdly, norms ofpronunciation are subject less to educational and national constraints than to socialones: this means, in effect, that some regional accents are less acceptable for networkuse than others; c/1.16 Note.Connected with this is the exception referred to above. In BrE, one type ofpronunciation comes close to enjoying the status ofstandard: it is the accentassociated with the English public schools, Received Pronunciation or RP Becausethis has traditionally been transmitted through a private education system based upon
  23. 23. 23boarding schools insulated from the locality in which they happen to be situated, it isimportantly non-regional, and this - together with the obvious prestige that the socialimportance of its speakers has conferred on it - has been one of its strengths as alingua franca. But RP no longer has the unique authority it had in the first half of thetwentieth century. It is now only one of the accents commonly used on the BBC andtakes its place along with others which carry the unmistakable mark of regional origin- not least, an Australian or North American or Caribbean origin. Thus the rule that aspecific type of pronunciation is relatively unimportant seems to be in the process oflosing the notable exception that RP has constituted.NoteThe extreme variation that is tolerated in the pronunciation of English in variouscountries puts a great responsibility upon the largely uniform orthography (1.19) inpreserving the intercomprehensibuity of English throughout the world. A phoneticspelling would probably allow existing differences to become greater whereas -through spelling pronunciation* with increased literacy - our conventional ortho-graphy not merely checks the divisiveness of pronunciation change but actuallyreduces it.1.24___Varieties according to subject matterVarieties according to the subject matter involved in a discourse have attractedlinguists attention a good deal in recent years. They are sometimes referred to asregisters, though this term is applied to different types of linguistic variety bydifferent linguists. The theoretical bases forconsidering subject-matter varieties are highly debatable, but certain broad truths areclear enough. While one does not exclude the possibility that a given speaker maychoose to speak in a national standard at one moment and in a regional dialect thenext - and possibly even switch from one national standard to another- thepresumption has been that an individual adopts one of the varieties so far discussed ashis permanent form of English. With varieties according to subject matter, on theother hand, the presumption is rather that the same speaker has a repertoire ofvarieties and habitually switches to the appropriate one as occasion arises. Naturally,however, no speaker has a very large repertoire, and the number of varieties hecommands depends crucially upon his specific profession, training, range of hobbies,etc.Most typically, perhaps, the switch involves nothing more than turning to theparticular set of lexical items habitually used for handling the topic in question. Thus,in connection with repairing a machine: nut, bolt, wrench, thread, lever, finger-tight,balance, adjust, bearing, axle, pinion, split-pin, and the like. I am of course usingthread in the engineering sense, not as it is used in needlework, one says. But thereare grammatical correlates to subject-matter variety as well. To take a simpleexample, the imperatives in cooking recipes: Pour the yolks into a bowl, not Youshould or You must or You might care to, still less "The cook should ... Morecomplex grammatical correlates are to be found in the language of technical and
  24. 24. 24scientific description: the passive is common and clauses are often nominalized(13.34/); thus not usually1 twin—11You can rectify this fault if you insert a wedge ... but rather Rectification of this faultis achieved by insertion of a wedge ...More radical grammatical changes are made in the language of legal documents:Provided that such payment as aforesaid shall be a condition precedent to the exerciseof the option herein specified ...and the language of prayer: Eternal God, Who dost call all men into unity with ThySon ...It need hardly be emphasized that the type of language required by choice of subjectmatter would be roughly constant against the variables (dialect, national standard)already discussed. Some obvious contingent constraints are howeveremerging: theuse of a specific variety of one class frequently presupposes the use of a specificvariety of another. The use11 The English languageof a well-formed legal sentence, for example, presupposes an educatedvariety of English.NoteSome subject matter (non-technic