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This textbook is designed to fill two basic needs. One is for a clear and straightforward presentation of the rudiments of articulatory phonetics which is geared specifically to the requirements of the future language teacher, and not exclusively to the student of linguistics, and in which the basic concepts and terminology are introduced via English as opposed to a variety of languages.

An even greater need, perhaps, and one that has gone unfulfilled for too long, is for a simple but reasonably complete overview of the phonetic inventory of North American French. Examination copy. Cox, Terry Fennell, Christopher T. Werker MacLeod, Andrea A. The first steps in word learning are easier when the shoes fit: comparing monolingual and bilingual infants.

The next major wave of English-speaking settlement followed the Napoleonic Wars , when Britain faced problems connected with overpopulation and the economic and social consequences of the Industrial Revolution. These problems encouraged many British people to emigrate. Hundreds of thousands came to Canada in the early- and midth century, more or less completing the settlement of the central and eastern parts of the country, from southern Ontario to the Atlantic coast. The largest numbers of these immigrants were Irish, with Ulster Irish predominating in frontier regions of Ontario and southern Irish in the lumber camps and major cities of Quebec and Atlantic Canada; English immigrants were the second largest group and Scots the third.

The West was also dotted with fur trading posts by this time, from Winnipeg Fort Garry , established in through Edmonton to Victoria But the majority of English-speaking settlement of the West was made possible by the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in While large groups of western pioneers arrived from the United States, Britain and Europe, the dominant group in most places, both numerically and socially, was Canadian-born migrants from Ontario. Saskatoon , for instance, was founded in by the Temperance Colonization Society, a group of Methodists from Toronto , and eastern Canadians dominated the early elites across the West.

The first premier of the Northwest Territories and those of the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were also from Ontario.

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It was therefore Ontario English that became the main model for the English of western Canada, despite the diverse origins of the general population of the West. Nevertheless, Canadian English, like all dialects and languages, continues to evolve, with small changes seen in each generation of speakers. Boberg, from the late s and early s, to surveys of Canadian English carried out in the s by H. Allen, W. Avis and R. Scargill and H. Even if the main features of Canadian English are relatively stable, new words and ways of saying things arise all the time, while older expressions go out of fashion and disappear.

Some of these changes, together with the stable features of Canadian English, are discussed in the following sections.


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This is indeed what we find, together with a few features that are uniquely Canadian. This is particularly true of its grammar how words and sentences are put together, which linguists call morphology and syntax and of the most systematic aspects of its pronunciation what linguists call phonology and phonetics.

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In most places, the children of 19th-century British settlers and those who came after them would have adopted the local variety of English that had developed from 18th-century Loyalist speech, which was later transferred to western Canada when Ontarians settled there in the lateth century. Several of the main features of Canadian English, however, can also be found in the regional dialects brought to Canada by British settlers from northern and western England , Scotland and Ireland , so their presence in Canada may reflect a combination of both sources of influence.

The English of Newfoundland , which remained a separate British colony until , has traditionally been seen as distinct from that of mainland Canada, reflecting its more specific origins in southwestern England and southeastern Ireland especially the region around Waterford.

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Though many young Newfoundlanders have recently been shifting their speech toward general Canadian patterns, the speech of most people in the capital, St. The rich local vocabulary of Newfoundland has been catalogued in a Dictionary of Newfoundland English with thousands of entries see Dictionary. The colonial American English that the Loyalists brought to Canada was established in the 17th century, before several of the changes that created modern Standard British English had occurred in southeastern England.

Other general North American features shared by Canadian English may reflect more recent American influence.

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Other phonological features divide North Americans by region. These sound different in Britain and in parts of the eastern United States.

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In Canada, as in the western United States, they sound the same; lot and thought rhyme, while cot and caught , stock and stalk and don and dawn are homophones. This merger is thought to be the cause of a phonetic pattern called the Canadian Shift, a change in progress in modern Canadian English that involves a lowering and retraction of the short front vowels in words like kit , dress and trap.

Another distinctive Canadian pronunciation pattern is called Canadian Raising. This is a shortening of the diphthongs in words like price and mouth , causing the vowel to be produced somewhat higher in the mouth than in other dialects. While some American dialects also raise the vowels of price words, raising in mouth words is more distinctively Canadian.

In a related pattern, most Canadians, like the British, use the vowel of cost in words like Costa Rica , whereas Americans prefer the vowel of coast. Though the most systematic aspects of Canadian pronunciation follow North American patterns, pronunciation of individual words sometimes follows the British norm. For instance, Canadians pronounce the — ile suffix in words like fertile , futile , hostile , missile and mobile with a full vowel like that in profile , whereas Americans rhyme futile with brutal , hostile with hostel , missile with thistle , mobile with noble , etc.

For most Canadians, shone , the past tense of shine , rhymes with gone , as in Britain, not with bone , as in the US. British and American English have developed distinct vocabularies for many aspects of modern life, especially in such semantic domains as clothing , food and transportation. In general, Canadians follow the American model in these cases; like Americans, they say apartment rather than flat , diaper rather than nappy , elevator rather than lift , flashlight rather than torch , freight car rather than goods wagon , fries rather than chips Canadian chips are what the British call crisps , pants rather than trousers , sweater rather than jumper , truck rather than lorry , and wrench rather than spanner.

Canadian cars, like American, have hoods , fenders , mufflers , trunks , turn signals and windshields — not bonnets , wings , silencers , boots , indicators and windscreens — and drive on gas from gas stations , not petrol from filling stations or petrol stations. In a few cases, however, most Canadians prefer British words: bill rather than check for the tally of charges in a restaurant; cutlery rather than silverware for knives, forks and spoons; icing rather than frosting for the top layer of a cake; icing sugar rather than powdered sugar for the finely ground sugar sprinkled on desserts; tap rather than faucet for the device that controls the flow of water into a sink; and, zed rather than zee for the last letter of the alphabet.

Canadians also display a small set of their own unique vocabulary, which can be called Canadianisms. In discussing Canadianisms, it is important to distinguish between international words for things that occur only or mostly in Canada, and uniquely Canadian words for things that occur internationally. The first type of word represents the uniqueness of Canada but not of Canadian English. All of these things contribute to a Canadian cultural identity and their names are Canadian words in one sense, yet if people outside Canada found occasion to refer to them, they would use the same words as Canadians.

In a parallel way, Canadians use Australian words like boomerang, didgeridoo, kangaroo and koala; these words are part of World English, not of Canadian or Australian English exclusively. Only the second type of word, where Canadians use their own word for something that has other names in other dialects, is a true Canadianism in the linguistic sense. Some examples include the following: a small apartment without a separate bedroom is a bachelor in Canada but a studio in the US and Britain; a machine that performs banking services is a bank machine in Canada but an ATM in the US and a cash dispenser in Britain; the structures along the edge of a roof for collecting rainwater are eavestroughs in much of Canada but gutters in the US and Britain; the years of school are grade one , grade two , etc.

Nonetheless, Canadian English often shows variation in the use of these words, with Canadianisms competing with other words, usually the American variants. This sometimes results in the decline or disappearance of Canadianisms. The best-known example is chesterfield , which used to be the standard Canadian term for what is called a couch in the US and a sofa or settee in Britain; today, while some older Canadians continue to use chesterfield , most younger Canadians say couch. The French and British were not, of course, the first people to occupy the land that became Canada; for thousands of years before their arrival, it was home to a wide array of Indigenous cultures and their languages.

When European settlers arrived, many of the things they encountered, like aspects of the natural environment , were already familiar to them and were given pre-existing European names: bay , bear , beaver , birch , bison , cod , deer , duck , eagle , fir , fox , frost , glacier , grasshopper , gull , hail , hare , ice , lake , lobster , loon , maple , marsh , mosquito , mountain , owl , pine , poplar , prairie , puffin , river , salmon , seal , sleet , slush and snow are all European words, among thousands of other examples.

Even many unfamiliar things were given European names, adapted to fit new, North American meanings, like robin , which denotes different birds in North America and Europe.

An Introduction to the Comparative Phonetics of English and French in North America

Many terms connected with Indigenous cultures, like chief , dogsled , harpoon , peace pipe , snowshoe , sun dance and sweat lodge , are also of European origin. In a few cases, however, words were borrowed from Indigenous languages. Many of these are shared with American English, since the international border is irrelevant to the natural and Indigenous worlds.

A few examples of Indigenous loanwords in North American English are caribou , chinook , chipmunk , husky , igloo , inukshuk , kamik , kayak , moccasin , moose , mucky-muck , mukluk , muskeg , powwow , raccoon , saskatoon , skunk , sockeye , teepee , toboggan , wapiti and wigwam. Admittedly, most of these do not occur very often in everyday speech and their number is remarkably small, compared to the much larger vocabulary transferred from European languages.

The major contribution of Indigenous languages to Canadian English is therefore not in common nouns or other parts of ordinary vocabulary, but in place names, something few modern Canadians stop to think about: the names Manitoba , Mississauga , Niagara , Nunavut , Ontario , Ottawa , Quebec , Saskatchewan , Toronto , Winnipeg , and Yukon — as well as the name Canada itself — all come from Indigenous languages.

Along with Canadian Raising of mouth words, discussed above, the most popular stereotype of Canadian English is the word eh , added to the end of a phrase to solicit confirmation that the hearer has understood or agrees with what the speaker is saying. One domain where Canadian English shows a more balanced mixture of American and British standards is spelling, reflecting a continued belief among many Canadian educators and others in positions of linguistic authority that British English is more correct than American.

Other British spellings preferred by Canadians are cheque over American check , grey over gray and travelled over traveled. There are many inconsistencies, however: Canadians prefer British catalogue to American catalog but not British programme to American program , while use of British defence and American defense is mixed.

Moreover, some British spellings rarely occur in Canada, like kerb for curb and tyre for tire , or some foreign-influenced spellings of fancy words like analyse , criticise , paediatrics and foetus. Technological developments have tended to increase American influence on Canadian spelling, with American spellings normalized by the use of American-made spell-checker applications in word-processing programs and intensive exposure to written American English on the Internet, especially among younger Canadians.

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It might be said that tolerance of disagreement about spelling is in any case a truer reflection of the modern Canadian character than a rigid adherence to British standards. As a result, however, Canadian writers, editors and other language professionals face sometimes perplexing choices and uncertainties that do not burden their British or American colleagues, at least not to the same extent.

Setting a standard to follow in spelling, pronunciation and other aspects of usage is the job of the linguists and lexicographers who produce dictionaries and style guides. While many Canadians continue to consult American and British authorities on these matters, in keeping with its status as a unique and independent dialect, Canadian English now has its own set of such publications. There were two general-purpose comprehensive dictionaries produced entirely in Canada: first the Gage Canadian Dictionary and later the Canadian Oxford Dictionary , now largely used as the standard.

In , the Strathy Language Unit was established in the Department of English of Queen's University with a mission to study standard English usage and produce a guide to Canadian English usage; its activities promoting research on Canadian English continue today. With the important exception of Newfoundland mentioned above, Canadian English is notable for its comparative lack of regional variation, with a very similar type of English spoken by most people across the vast territory between Victoria and Halifax.

Compared to Britain and the eastern United States, regional differences are small and subtle and they decrease from east to west. Quebec English is highly distinctive because of its comparative lack of Loyalist influence and its close contact with French.