HENK0386BU English - Free topic 4: Linguistic Variation and Accent. An Introduction (exam form C)

Volume 2015/2016

The pronunciation of English varies immensely across the British Isles and beyond, but how exactly does a Geordie or Yorkshire accent differ from a London / Cockney accent. How can word pairs like pane–pain, daze–days be homophones in most accents of English but not in some parts of Wales? How come put and putt are different in standard English and American accents but not in the north of England? Is H Dropping only characteristic of a working-class London accent (Cockney), like that of Eliza and Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady? And why did Professor Higgins find it so important for Eliza to change her accent?

In this course we will examine how, and to some extent why, accents vary across the English-speaking world. The primary focus will be on the regional variation that results from various splits and mergers and other linguistic processes, but we will also examine how accents vary across social factors – most notably socio-economic class.

The course will serve as an introduction to studying accent variation, including a range of different theories and methods, and our sessions will include demonstrations of and practical exercises in analysing accents/pronunciation using specialised software. And we will examine a range of English accents, primarily from the British Isles, but also from other part of the world.

Basic knowledge of English phonetics is assumed. Students who have not passed a course on phonetics, should read Sections A and B of Collins & Mees (2013) before the course.

Main textbook is

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 1. An introduction. Cambridge University Press.


Other reading (excerpts), will be supplemented with articles

Collins, B. & I.M. Mees. 2013. Practical Phonetics and Phonology. 3rd ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Hughes, A., P. Trudgill & D. Watt (2012). English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of English in the British Isles. Hodder Education.

Wardhaugh, R. & J.M.  Fuller (2014). An introduction to sociolinguistics. 7th edition. Wiley Blackwell.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 2. The British Isles. Cambridge University Press. Online access through  KB: http:/​/​ebooks.cambridge.org.ep.fjernadgang.kb.dk/​ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511611759.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 3. Beyond The British Isles. Cambridge University Press. Online access through  KB: http:/​/​ebooks.cambridge.org.ep.fjernadgang.kb.dk/​ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511611766.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • Total
  • 204,75