Varieties of English

Varietiesof English

Varietiesof English


“Doyou have any spiders in here, Jim?”

“Nosir, thank goodness I haven’t got any, Master Tom.”

“Allright, we’ll get you some.”

“Butbless you, honey, I don’t want any, I fear them. I will soon haverattlesnakes around here.”

Tomthought a minute or two, and says:

“It’sa good idea. And I reckon it’s been done. It must have been doneit stands to reason. Yes, it’s a prime good idea. Where could youkeep it?”

“Keepwhat, Master Tom?”

“Why,a rattlesnake.”

“Thegoodness gracious alive, Master Tom! Why, if there was a rattlesnakecoming in here, I’d bust out right away through that wall, I would,with my head.”

“Why,Jim, you wouldn’t be afraid of it, after a short while. You couldtame it.”


“Yes-easy enough…”

[Aconversation between Tom, a young white boy and Jim, a slave, runningaway from home in Missouri in Clemens, S. L. Adventuresof Huckleberry Finn,1885]


“DuYusong has business which is similar to a fruit stand. Like off thestreet kind. He is Du just like Du Zong- but not the same with theTsung-ming Island people. The local people call Putong, the rivereast side, he belongs to that side together with local people. Hewent to ask Du Zong father to take him as family. Du Zong father didnot look down on him, but did not take him seriously until he grew asbig as a mafia.

Nowthen he was an important person he found it very hard to invite him.He used the Chinese way of coming to show respect but could not stayfor dinner. Based on his respect for making big celebration, heshowed up. This meant that he had a lot of respect. As in the Chinesecustom and the social way of life it was very important that avisitor did not stay for long. He came to my wedding but I did notsee him. I only heard about it. I had gone to the boy’s side wherethey have YMCA dinner as I was aged nineteen.”

Varietyof English

Thevariety of English in which the first selection was written in isAfrican-American Vernacular English. The phonological characteristicof this variety include the lack of final /t/ and /d/ in words suchas ‘don’t’ and ‘around’. For instance, Jim says “…Idoan’ want none…soon have rattlesnakes aroun’.” Amorphological characteristic of the selection is the contraction ofwords such as am + not or I + do not (Hickey, 2013) to be ‘Ihain’t’. A syntactic feature of the selection include the lack ofnegative attraction, for example, Jim says to Tom, “I doan’ wantnone.” Lexical features of this selection include some addition ofwords such as ‘Mars’ and ‘heah’ instead of Master and hererespectively.

Thesecond section has also been written in a non-standard variety ofEnglish. A morphological and syntactic feature of this variety ofEnglish includes a different word order (Hickey, 2013) and omissionof subjects, for example “Chinese way came only to show respect…”a phonological characteristic includes word contractions. A lexicalfeature of this variety of English includes the introduction of newwords such as ‘Zongfather’ which is not an English word.

Ifone changes the language from the dialect used in the first selectionto that of a standard variety, it would highly affect the intent ofthe author. Changing the variety of language would affect theauthor’s intention of bringing out the differences between theAfrican American and the natives. It is hence important that onesticks to the original language variety.

Ifa person changes the language in the second selection, from thenon-standard dialect to a standard variety of English, it would notaffect the intent of the selection. The author of the secondselection wanted to pass across information about Du Yusong, andthus, changing the language from the dialect used by the author wouldnot affect her intent.


Forthe two selections, I will prefer the non-standard version for thefirst selection and a standard version for the second selection. Thisis because a person will understand the situation of the charactersand the different languages better in the first selection better.However, I will prefer the standard version of English to be used inthe second selection so as to make it meaningful.


Hickey,R. (2013). A Dictionary of . Wiley

Mukherjee,J. (2011). Exploring Second-Language Varieties and Learner English:Bridging a

paradigmgap. John Benjamins Publishing.