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British English (BrE) is the
standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a population for public communication. The term ''standard langua ...
of the
English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsula on the (not to be confused with ), to the area of later named after them: . Living languages mos ...

English language
as spoken and written in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective ''wee'' is almost exclusively used in parts of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

Scotland
,
North East England North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the First-level NUTS of the European Union, first level of NUTS statistical regions of the United Kingdom, NUTS for Eurostat, statistical purposes. The region includes the counti ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in ...

Ireland
, and occasionally
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England. There are three ...
, whereas the adjective ''little'' is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom and this could be described by the term ''British English''. The forms of
spoken Spoken is the past participle form of "to speak". Spoken may also refer to: *Spoken (band), a Christian rock group from Arkansas *''Spoken (album)'', an album by Spoken See also

*Speak (disambiguation) {{disambiguation ...
English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken and so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the ''Oxford Guide to World English'', British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word '
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity". Colloquial portmanteau words for British English include: ''Bringlish'' (recorded from 1967), ''Britglish'' (1973), ''Britlish'' (1976), ''Brenglish'' (1993) and ''Brilish'' (2011).


History

English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
is a West Germanic language that originated from the
Anglo-Frisian The Anglo-Frisian languages are the West Germanic languages which include Anglic (English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxo ...
dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
s brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of what is now northwest
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
and the northern
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
. The resident population at this time was generally speaking
Common Brittonic Common Brittonic ( ang, Brytisċ; cy, Brythoneg; kw, Brythonek; br, Predeneg), also known as Common Brythonic or Proto-Brittonic, was a Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-C ...
—the insular variety of
continental Celtic The Continental Celtic languages is the now-extinct group of the Celtic languages that were spoken on the continent of Europe and in central Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor ...
, which was influenced by the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
occupation. This group of languages (
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
,
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...
,
Cumbric Cumbric was a variety (linguistics), variety of the Common Brittonic language spoken during the Early Middle Ages in the ''Hen Ogledd'' or "Old North" in what is now Northern England and southern Scottish Lowlands, Lowland Scotland. It was clos ...
) cohabited alongside
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
into the modern period, but due to their remoteness from the
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian sub ...

Germanic languages
, influence on English was notably limited. However, the degree of influence remains debated, and it has recently been argued that its grammatical influence accounts for the substantial innovations noted between English and the other West Germanic languages. Initially,
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
Kingdoms of England. One of these dialects,
Late West Saxon Late may refer to: * LATE, an acronym which could stand for: ** Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, a proposed form of dementia ** Local-authority trading enterprise, a New Zealand business law ** Local average treatment effec ...
, eventually came to dominate. The original
Old English language Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has event ...
was then influenced by two waves of invasion: the first was by speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic family, who settled in parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries; the second was the
Normans The Normans (: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a arising in the medieval from the intermingling between settlers and indigenous and . The term is also used to denote emigrants from the duchy who conquered oth ...

Normans
in the 11th century, who spoke
Old Norman Old Norman, also called Old Northern French or Old Norman French ( fro, Ancien Normant, nrf, Ancien Normaund), was one of many ''langues d'oïl The ''langues d'oïl'' (; ) are a dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a se ...
and ultimately developed an English variety of this called
Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Bretons, Flemish people, F ...
. These two invasions caused English to become "mixed" to some degree (though it was never a truly
mixed language A mixed language is a language that arises among a bilingual group combining aspects of two or more languages but not clearly deriving primarily from any single language. It differs from a creole or pidgin language in that, whereas creoles/pidgin ...
in the strictest sense of the word; mixed languages arise from the cohabitation of speakers of different languages, who develop a hybrid tongue for basic communication). The more idiomatic, concrete and descriptive English is, the more it is from Anglo-Saxon origins. The more intellectual and abstract English is, the more it contains
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
and
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
influences e.g. swine (like the Germanic schwein) is the animal in the field bred by the occupied Anglo-Saxons and pork (like the French porc) is the animal at the table eaten by the occupying Normans.Another example is the Anglo-Saxon ‘cu’ meaning cow, and the French ‘bœf’ meaning beef. Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the
Anglo-Frisian The Anglo-Frisian languages are the West Germanic languages which include Anglic (English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxo ...
core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the grafting onto that Germanic core of a more elaborate layer of words from the
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...

Romance
branch of the European languages. This Norman influence entered English largely through the courts and government. Thus, English developed into a "borrowing" language of great flexibility and with a huge
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...
.


Dialects

Dialects The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...

Dialects
and
accentsAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a particular syllable in a word, or a word in a phrase ** Pitch accen ...
vary amongst the four
countries of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922, comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain), as well as Northern Ireland (#Terminology, variously descr ...
, as well as within the countries themselves. The major divisions are normally classified as
English English The English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading language of internatio ...
(or English as spoken in
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
, which encompasses Southern English dialects,
West Country The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Iri ...
dialects, East and
West Midlands English West Midlands English is a group of dialects of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World ...
dialects and Northern English dialects),
Ulster English Ulster English ( sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr Inglis, ga, Béarla Ulaidh, also called Northern Hiberno-English Hiberno-English (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
in
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label= Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usa ...

Northern Ireland
,
Welsh English Welsh English ( cy, Saesneg Gymreig) comprises the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways to refer to two different types of L ...
(not to be confused with the
Welsh language Welsh ( or ) is a Brittonic languages, Brittonic language of the Celtic language family that is native to the Welsh people. Welsh is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina ...
), and
Scottish English Scottish English ( gd, Beurla Albannach) is the set of varieties Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classe ...
(not to be confused with the
Scots language Scots (endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
or
Scottish Gaelic language Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family) native to the Gaels The Gaels (; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidh ...
). The various British dialects also differ in the words that they have borrowed from other languages. Around the middle of the 15th century, there were points where within the 5 major dialects there were almost 500 ways to spell the word ''though''. Following its last major
survey of English Dialects The Survey of English Dialects was undertaken between 1950 and 1961 under the direction of Professor Harold Orton of the English department of the University of Leeds , mottoeng = And knowledge will be increased , established = 1831 – Le ...
(1949–1950), the
University of Leeds The University of Leeds is a public research university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science. In 1884 it merged with the Leeds School of Medicine (established 1831) and was renamed Yorks ...
has started work on a new project. In May 2007 the
Arts and Humanities Research Council The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), established in April 2005 as successor to the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), is a British research council Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific re ...
awarded a grant to Leeds to study British regional dialects.Mapping the English language—from cockney to Orkney
Leeds University , mottoeng = And knowledge will be increased , established = 1831 – Leeds School of Medicine1874 – Yorkshire College of Science1884 - Yorkshire College1887 – affiliated to the federal Victoria University1904 – University of Leeds , t ...

Leeds University
website, 25 May 2007.
The team are sifting through a large collection of examples of regional slang words and phrases turned up by the "Voices project" run by the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of ...

BBC
, in which they invited the public to send in examples of English still spoken throughout the country. The BBC Voices project also collected hundreds of news articles about how the British speak English from swearing through to items on language schools. This information will also be collated and analysed by Johnson's team both for content and for where it was reported. "Perhaps the most remarkable finding in the Voices study is that the English language is as diverse as ever, despite our increased mobility and constant exposure to other accents and dialects through TV and radio". When discussing the award of the grant in 2007, Leeds University stated:


Regional

Most people in Britain speak with a regional accent or dialect. However, about 2% of Britons speak with an accent called
Received Pronunciation Received Pronunciation (often abbreviated as RP) is the accentAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a ...
(also called "the Queen's English", "Oxford English" and "
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of ...

BBC
English"), that is essentially region-less. It derives from a mixture of the Midlands and Southern dialects spoken in London in the early modern period. It is frequently used as a model for teaching English to foreign learners. In the South East there are significantly different accents; the
Cockney A Cockney is a certain type of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at ...
accent spoken by some East Londoners is strikingly different from Received Pronunciation (RP). The Cockney
rhyming slang Rhyming slang is a form of slang word construction in the English language. It is especially prevalent in the UK, Ireland and Australia. It was first used in the early 19th century in the East End of London The East End of London, often r ...
can be (and was initially intended to be) difficult for outsiders to understand, although the extent of its use is often somewhat exaggerated.
Estuary English Estuary English is an associated with the area along the and its , including . Phonetician proposed a definition of Estuary English as "Standard English spoken with the accent of the southeast of England". Estuary English may be compared with ...
has been gaining prominence in recent decades: it has some features of RP and some of Cockney. In London itself, the broad local accent is still changing, partly influenced by Caribbean speech. Immigrants to the UK in recent decades have brought many more languages to the country. Surveys started in 1979 by the
Inner London Education Authority The Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) was an ad hoc local education authority Local education authorities (LEAs) are the local councils in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west an ...
discovered over 100 languages being spoken domestically by the families of the inner city's schoolchildren. As a result,
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
ers speak with a mixture of accents, depending on ethnicity, neighbourhood, class, age, upbringing, and sundry other factors. Since the mass
internal migrationInternal migration or domestic migration is human migration within a country. Internal migration tends to be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance. Cross-border migration often occurs ...
to
Northamptonshire Northamptonshire (; abbreviated Northants.), archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a historic county in the East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England ...

Northamptonshire
in the 1940s and its position between several major accent regions, it has become a source of various accent developments. In Northampton the older accent has been influenced by overspill Londoners. There is an accent known locally as the
Kettering Kettering is a large market and industrial town in North Northamptonshire, England. It is located north of London and north-east of Northampton Northampton is a town and civil parish in the East Midlands region of England. It lies on ...

Kettering
accent, which is a transitional accent between the
East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Linc ...
and
East Anglia East Anglia is a geographical area in the East of England. The area included has varied but the legally defined Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS statistical unit comprises the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshi ...
n. It is the last southern Midlands accent to use the broad "a" in words like ''bath''/''grass'' (i.e. barth/grarss). Conversely ''crass''/''plastic'' use a slender "a". A few miles northwest in Leicestershire the slender "a" becomes more widespread generally. In the town of
Corby Corby is a town in North Northamptonshire, England, located north-east of Northampton. From 1974 to 2021, the town served as the administrative headquarters of the Borough of Corby. At the 2011 United Kingdom census, 2011 Census, the town had a ...
, north, one can find Corbyite, which unlike the Kettering accent, is largely influenced by the West Scottish accent. In addition, many British people can to some degree temporarily "swing" their accent towards a more neutral form of English at will, to reduce difficulty where very different accents are involved, or when speaking to foreigners.


Ethnicity


Features

Phonological features characteristic of British English revolve around the pronunciation of the letter R, as well as the dental plosive T and some diphthongs specific to this dialect.


T-stopping

Once regarded as a Cockney feature, a number of forms of spoken British English, has became commonly realised as a when it is in the intervocalic position, in a process called T-glottalisation. National media being based in London has seen a glottal-stop spreading wider than it once was in word final, ''not'' being heard a no. It is still stigmatised when used at the beginning and central positions, such as ''later'', ''often'' has all but regained . Other consonants subject to this usage in Cockney English are ''p'', as in paer and ''k'' as in baer.


R-dropping

In most areas of England, outside the
West Country The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Iri ...
and near other countries of the UK, the consonant R is not pronounced if not followed by a vowel, lengthening the preceding vowel instead. This phenomenon is known as non-rhoticity. In these same areas, a tendency exists to insert an R between a word ending in a vowel and a next word beginning with a vowel. This is called the
intrusive R Linking R and intrusive R are sandhi Sandhi ( sa, ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of changes that occur at or word boundaries. Examples include fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of one sound depend ...
. It could be understood as a merger, in that words that once ended in an R and words that did not are no longer treated differently. This is also due to London-centric influences. Examples of R-dropping are ''car'' and ''sugar'', where the R is not pronounced.


Diphthongisation

British dialects differ on the extent of diphthongisation of long vowels, with southern varieties extensively turning them into diphthongs, and with northern dialects normally preserving many of them. As a comparison, North American varieties could be said to be in-between.


North

Long vowels /iː/ and /uː/ are usually preserved, and in several areas also /oː/ and /eː/, as in go and say (unlike other varieties of English, that change them to ʊand ɪrespectively). Some areas go as far as not diphthongising medieval /iː/ and /uː/, that give rise to modern /aɪ/ and /aʊ/; that is, for example, in the traditional accent of
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne ( , ), often simply Newcastle, is the largest city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedi ...

Newcastle upon Tyne
, 'out' will sound as 'oot', and in parts of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

Scotland
and North-West England, 'my' will be pronounced as 'me'.


South

Long vowels /iː/ and /uː/ are diphthongised to iand urespectively (or, more technically, ʉ with a raised tongue), so that ee and oo in feed and food are pronounced with a movement. The diphthong ʊis also pronounced with a greater movement, normally ʊ ʉor ɨ


People in groups

Dropping a morphological
grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is ...
, in
collective noun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
s, is stronger in British English than North American English.
Oxford Dictionaries Lexico is an online dictionary website that provides a collection of English and Spanish dictionaries produced by Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which us ...
website, 2 April 2017.
This is to treat them as plural when once grammatically singular, a perceived natural number prevails, especially when applying to institutional nouns and groups of people. The noun 'police', for example, undergoes this treatment: A football team can be treated likewise: This tendency can be observed in texts produced already in the 19th century. For example,
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
, a British author, writes in Chapter 4 of
Pride and Prejudice ''Pride and Prejudice'' is an 1813 romantic novel of manners written by Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and ...

Pride and Prejudice
, published in 1813:
All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes.
However, in Chapter 16, the grammatical number is used.
The world is blinded by his fortune and consequence.


Negatives

Some dialects of British English use negative concords, also known as double negatives. Rather than changing a word or using a positive, words like nobody, not, nothing, and never would be used in the same sentence. While this does not occur in Standard English, it does occur in non-standard dialects. The double negation follows the idea of two different morphemes, one that causes the double negation, and one that is used for the point or the verb.


Standardisation

As with English around the world, the English language as used in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
is governed by convention rather than formal code: there is no body equivalent to the
Académie Française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
or the
Real Academia Española The Royal Spanish Academy ( es, Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE) is Spain's official royal institution with a mission to ensure the stability of the Spanish language Spanish ( or , ) is a Romance languages, Romance la ...
. Dictionaries (for example, the
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
, the
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English The ''Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English'' (''LDOCE'') was first published by Longman Longman, also known as Pearson Longman, is a publishing company founded in London, England, in 1724 and is owned by Pearson PLC. Since 1968, Longm ...
, the
Chambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher born 1802), Robert Chambers as ''Chambers's English Dictionary'' in 1872. It was an expanded version of ''Chambers's ...
, and the
Collins Dictionary The ''Collins English Dictionary'' is a printed and online dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic ...
) record usage rather than attempting to prescribe it. In addition, vocabulary and usage change with time: words are freely borrowed from other languages and other strains of English, and
neologisms A neologism (; from Ancient Greek, Greek νέο- ''néo-'', "new" and λόγος ''lógos'', "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been ...
are frequent. For historical reasons dating back to the rise of
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
in the 9th century, the form of language spoken in London and the
East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Linc ...
became standard English within the Court, and ultimately became the basis for generally accepted use in the law, government, literature and education in Britain. The standardisation of British English is thought to be from both
dialect levelling Dialect levelling or leveling (in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Curren ...
and a thought of social superiority. Speaking in the Standard dialect created class distinctions; those who did not speak the standard English would be considered of a lesser class or social status and often discounted or considered of a low intelligence. Another contribution to the standardisation of British English was the introduction of the printing press to England in the mid-15th century. In doing so, William Caxton enabled a common language and spelling to be dispersed among the entirety of England at a much faster rate. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) was a large step in the English-language spelling reform, where the purification of language focused on standardising both speech and spelling. By the early 20th century, British authors had produced numerous books intended as guides to English grammar and usage, a few of which achieved sufficient acclaim to have remained in print for long periods and to have been reissued in new editions after some decades. These include, most notably of all, Fowler's Modern English Usage and The Complete Plain Words by Sir Ernest Gowers. Detailed guidance on many aspects of writing British English for publication is included in style guides issued by various publishers including The Times newspaper, the Oxford University Press and the Cambridge University Press. The Oxford University Press guidelines were originally drafted as a single broadsheet page by Horace Henry Hart, and were at the time (1893) the first guide of their type in English; they were gradually expanded and eventually published, first as Hart's Rules, and in 2002 as part of ''The Oxford Manual of Style''. Comparable in authority and stature to The Chicago Manual of Style for published American English, the Oxford Manual is a fairly exhaustive standard for published British English that writers can turn to in the absence of specific guidance from their publishing house.


See also

* American English * Australian English * British Sign Language * Canadian English * Commonwealth English * Hiberno-English * New Zealand English * American and British English spelling differences


Notes


Citations


References

* McArthur, Tom (2002). ''Oxford Guide to World English''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. hardback, paperback. * Bragg, Melvyn (2004). ''The Adventure of English'', London: Sceptre. * Peters, Pam (2004). ''The Cambridge Guide to English Usage''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. . * Simpson, John (ed.) (1989). ''Oxford English Dictionary'', 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


External links


Sounds Familiar?
Examples of regional accents and dialects across the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website
Accents and dialects from the British Library Sound Archive

Accents of English from Around the World
Hear and compare how the same 110 words are pronounced in 50 English accents from around the world – instantaneous playback online
The Septic's Companion: A British Slang Dictionary
an online dictionary of British slang, viewable alphabetically or by category
British English Turkey
{{Authority control British English, Dialects of English English language Languages of Gibraltar Languages of the United Kingdom