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10.a Crystal Eng as a global lang

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smell Gyasi (1991),
Ahulu (1994, 1995b)
lorry station Gyasi (1991),
Ahulu (1994, 1995b)
chop box box for keeping Gyasi (1991),
food in Ahulu (1994, 1995b)
declare a surplus throw a party Awonusi (1990),
Bamiro (1994)
recite offhead speak spontaneously Awonusi (1990),
Bamiro (1994)
put sand in one’s gari interfere with one’s Awonusi (1990),
good luck Bamiro (1994)
take in become pregnant Awonusi (1990),
Bamiro (1994)
give me chance/way let me pass Gyasi (1991),
Ahulu (1994, 1995b)
I’m not financial have no money Gyasi (1991),
Ahulu (1994, 1995b)
(‘die-hard of the Anglo-Boer war’); bloedsappe (‘staunch member
of the United Party’)).
� Code-switching
With illustrations like the one from the Sunday Times, it is not
difficult to see how the process of variety differentiation might
develop further. It was not just an Afrikaans noun which was dis-
tinctive, in the above example; it was an adjective + noun combi-
nation. The door is therefore open to make use of strings larger
than a phrase. Even inBritish English, there are instances of clause-
or sentence-size chunks being borrowed from a foreign language
(Je ne sais quoi, c’est la vie), so in situations where contact with
other languages is routine and socially pervasive, we would expect
this process to appear on a large scale, and eventually to have a
dramatic impact on the character of the language, in the form of
code-switching, the process in which people rely simultaneously
on two or more languages to communicate with each other.
The increase in code-switching is evidently one of the most
noticeable features of the situations in which New Englishes are
emerging. Any loan-word could be viewed as a minimalist exam-
ple of code-switching, but the notion is more persuasive when it
is found in stretches of utterance which can be given a syntactic
definition. McArthur gives an example of a leaflet issued by the
HongkongBank in 1994 for Filipino workers in Hong Kong who
send money home to their families.40 It is a bilingual leaflet, in
English and Tagalog, but in the Tagalog section a great deal of
English is mixed in. Here is a short extract: ‘Mag-deposito ng pera
mula sa ibang HongkongBank account, at any Hongkongbank
ATM, using your Cash Card. Mag-transfer ng regular amount
bawa’t buwan (by Standing Instruction) galang sa inyong Cur-
rent o Savings Account, whether the account is with Hongkong
Bank or not.’ This kind of language is often described using a
compound name – in this case, Taglish (for Tagalog-English). It
is unclear whether this kind of mixing is idiosyncratic to a par-
ticular institution, genre or region; but it illustrates the extent to
40 McArthur (1998: 13).
The future of global English
which it is possible to go, and still retain an identity which is at
least partly English. Whether one should call it a variety of English
or something else is not yet clear.41
Mixed varieties involving English are now found every-
where, with colourful nicknames attached – Franglais, Tex-Mex,
Chinglish, Japlish, Singlish, Spanglish, Denglish or Angleutsch,
and many more. These terms are now widely used regardless of
the direction of the mixing: they have been applied to a variety of
a language which has been much anglicized as well as to a vari-
ety of English which has made use of other languages. Whether
the direction makes a difference to the type of language used is
uncertain. What is important to note is that general attitudes to-
wards these phenomena are slowly changing (though still receiv-
ing much establishment opposition – see below). Formerly, such
names were only ever used as scornful appellations by the general
public. People would sneer at Tex-Mex, and say it was neither
one language nor the other, or refer to it as ‘gutter-speak’ used by
people who had not learned to talk properly. But we can hardly
call a variety like Taglish gutter-speak when it is being used in
writing by a major banking corporation. And when these ‘mixed’
languages are analysed, it is found that they are full of great com-
plexity and subtlety of expression – as we would expect, if people
have the resources of two languages to draw upon, rather than
McArthur’s aimwas to draw attention to the remarkable ‘messi-
ness’ which characterizes the current world English situation, es-
pecially in second-language contexts. Typically, a New English
is not a homogeneous entity, with clear-cut boundaries, and an
easily definable phonology, grammar and lexicon. On the con-
trary, communities which are putting English to use are doing
so in several different ways. As McArthur puts it, ‘stability and
flux go side by side, centripetal and centrifugal forces operating at
one and the same time’.42 And when actual examples of language
in use are analysed, in such multilingual settings as Malaysia and
Singapore, all kinds of unusual hybrids come to light. Different
41 See the discussion in Go¨rlach (1996: 162).
42 McArthur (1998: 2).
degrees of language mixing are apparent: at one extreme, a sen-
tence might be used which is indistinguishable from standard
English; at the other, a sentence might use so many words and
constructions from a contact language that it becomes unintelli-
gible to those outside a particular community. In between, there
are varying degrees of hybridization, ranging from the use of a
single lexical borrowing within a sentence to several borrowings,
and from the addition of a single borrowed syntactic construc-
tion (such as a tag question) to a reworking of an entire sentence
structure. In addition, of course, the pronunciation shows similar
degrees of variation, from a standard British or American accent
to an accent which diverges widely from such standards both in
segmental and nonsegmental (intonational, rhythmical) ways.43
It is possible to see this within a few lines of conversation, as
in this example from Malaysia (‘Malenglish’), in which two Kuala
Lumpur women lawyers are talking.44 The first speaker is a Tamil;
the second is Chinese; and both have learned English and Malay
as additional languages.
CHANDRA: Lee Lian, you were saying you wanted to go shop-
ping, nak pergi tak?
LEE L IAN: Okay, okay, at about twelve, can or not?
CHANDRA: Can lah, no problem one! My case going to be ad-
journed anyway.
LEE L IAN: What you looking for? Furnitures or kitchenwares?
You were saying, that day, you wanted to beli some barang-barang
for your new house.
CHANDRA: Yes lah! Might as well go window-shopping a bit at
least. No chance to ronda otherwise. My husband, he got no
patience one!
LEE L IAN: You mean you actually think husbands got all that
patience ah? No chance man! Yes or not?
CHANDRA: Betul juga. No chance at all! But if anything to do
with their stuff – golf or snooker or whatever, then dia pun boleh
sabar one.
43 See below, and also Crystal (1996), Goh (1998).
44 Baskaran (1994).
The future of global English
LEE L IAN: Yes lah, what to do? It still is a man’s world, in that
sense! Anyway, we better go now – so late already – wait traffic
jam, then real susah!
We can reorganize the data in this extract to show the hybridiza-
tion. At the top is a sentence which could be called Standard
Colloquial English; below it are other sentences which show in-
creasing degrees of departure from this norm, grammatically and
lexically. At the bottom is a sentence which is entirely Colloquial
Standard English
Might as well go window-shopping a bit at least.
It still is a man’s world, in that sense!
Increasing grammatical hybridization
My case going to be adjourned anyway. [auxiliary verb omitted]
wait traffic jam [preposition and article omitted]
Can lah, no problem one! [‘I can’; lah and one are emphatic particles]
Okay, okay, at about