Seminar Paper, 2001
Historical development page 06 English as a world language page 08 Social aspects of language page 10 The power of language
Language is an important part of culture, if not the most important one. Therefore I pick out this issue of the field of “Great Britain’s culture and style” which I already treated in my report.
The objective is to show that language is far more than just grammar, vocabulary and phonetics. This also aims at encouraging a certain awareness of the language we use and what effect it has, when we use it in a certain manner. A successful conversation requires more than grammatical and lexical knowledge: the so-called “intercultural competence” or “sociolinguistic technique”.
Thus, I start by giving a short overview of the history of the English language. This will show how it developed and which impacts there were – namely the invasions by Romans and Anglo-Saxons.
Subsequently I will try to explain how English became today’s lingua franca and how it obtained the authority that it has now. I shall also describe the present situation of this language all over the world and the varieties that came up.
As a consequence, certain social aspects of language and its varieties will be talked about. Not going too much into linguistic details, I want to introduce the reader very briefly into the field of sociolinguistics.
Finally, I will make some comments on the issue “power of language” and give essential examples: New Labour’s “media spin”, George Orwell’s “1984” and the role of language in the process of devolution.
The conclusion will resume the paper and provides a list of recommended literature used for this work.
Note:Numbers in square brackets indicate the source – please refer to the list of literature.
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