Colonial American English
DOI link for Colonial American English
Colonial American English book
In this chapter, we examine the social and linguistic events in Great Britain and in North America that led to the emergence of American English as a colonial and, later, national variety. The separation of the English language on both sides of the Atlantic-physically, and then politically-played an important role in the divergence of American English from British English. However, this separation was only one of several factors contributing to the differentiation of the two varieties. Other factors included speakers from different parts of England being brought together in the New World; contact between colonists and speakers of the Native American languages that had existed in North America for thousands of years; and contact between English colonists and colonists from other European countries
In the ﬁrst few chapters of this book, our aim was to provide readers with a foundation in linguistics for understanding the discussions and debates that are presented in subsequent chapters. As such, we discussed language structure and use in general terms, while also examining how forces of standardization and language attitudes play a role not only in the way that speakers view language, but also in how they use it. In the next several chapters, we turn our attention to American English and its diversity in terms of regional, social, and ethnic variation. We begin in this chapter by focusing on the emergence of American English during a 200-year span that began with the advent of English colonization in North America and ended with the United States winning its independence from England, at which point American English rose in stature from a colonial variety of English to a national variety.