Final question 4

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Post  maxlevpower on Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:32 pm

4) In the Early Modern English period, we see the beginning of the exportation of the English language beyond Britain. Where and how was the language exported?

Fennell, Barbara A. (2001) A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach. Blackwell, p. 137.

Throughout this period England’s overseas possession continued to expand. Virginia became the first Crown Colony in 1624, Maryland was founded 1634 and Maine was joined to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in1624. By 1639 the English were established in Madras, India, so that English colonial possessions stretched the globe.

Graddol, David, Dick Leith, and Joan Swann. (1996). English. History, Diversity and Change, English Language: Past, Present & Future, Routledge, London, p194-206.

The establishment of English-speaking colonies in North America at the beginning of seventeenth century was the first decisive stage in the colonial expansion of England which made English an international language. The first English settlers, however, were by no means the first Europeans to set up colonies. South America was the first to be “discovered” by Europe – in the late fifteenth century by the Portuguese and Spanish. This is a useful reminder that other European languages often came into contact with English in the colonies and influenced its development. The much later colonization of Australia in many was followed a pattern similar to that in North America. In both cases, large-scale immigration of English-speakers and other Europeans displaced existing populations.

English in North-America
The first English attempt at settlement in North America, in 1584, proved a failure, but in 1607 a second expedition established the colony of Jamestown in Virginia and was followed by several others, of which the most famous was the group on board the Mayflower who became known as the “pilgrim fathers” and who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Their colony was perhaps the most successful in attracting settlers: within 20 years a further 25,000 Europeans displaced existing populations.
The English settlers sought religious freedom. The was also a complex relationship between North American settlement and the slave trade, in all some West African languages influence the new forms of English that became spoken by the slaves.

English in Australia
The English settlement of Australia occurred nearly two centuries later than that of America. Penal colonies on the south-east coast of Australia were founded in 1788. Many of the convicts, once freed, became smallholders. They gradually coined a vocabulary to name new colonial identities and distinguish themselves from the precolonial Aboriginal population: “currency” meant a non-Aboriginal born in Australia, “native” Australian a white Australian actually born in the country, “sterling” someone born in Britain who was not a convict. There was a diversity of non-British-born “free settlers” from Europe and south-east Asia. The attitudes to the British state of these various settlers might best be described as ambivalent. Throughout much of the nineteenth century there was a vigorous anti-British sentiment; in recent years republicanism has gained ground.
Most of the population came from London and south –east of England.

English in West Africa
At much the same time as the Australian penal colonies were established, different kinds of settlement were set up in West Africa. Sierra Leone, where the first European slaving expedition occurred in the sixteenth century, was settled by escaped and (after 1807) freed slaves. A little later, Liberia was established by the USA for ex-slaves. The significance of these ventures was the association of slaves with an African “homeland”, an association based on the notion of “descent” from African tribes. One eventual outcome of this development was the sense of common cause between black people in both America and Africa.
New British colonies were established in Africa after 1880. Between that date and the end of the century virtually the entire continent was seized and shared out among the European powers.


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