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Varieties and

Registers of
Spoken and
Written English
World Englishes
Refers to the various approaches in describing and
analyzing the language.

A concept that refers to the different ways by which

users from around the globe communicate in English

Great Britain and America are the two main groups of

English speakers.
For A While by Matthew Sutherland
1 - Two countries divided by a common language -- George
Bernard Shaw (on the US and the UK)

2 - The very first thing the arriving tourist sees in Manila after
the planedoor opens is a sign in the walkway that reads "watch
your steps." This may not sound funny to you, but it sounds
funny to me, an English speaker from England. This is because,
in the UK, the expression is ,"watch your step," singular, not
"steps," plural. There's nothing wrong with "watch your steps";
in fact, it actually makes more sense to watch all your
forthcoming steps than to watch just one generic step. It just
sounds funny, that's all.
3 - "Watch your steps" is the first reminder for English
speakers from outside the Philippines that English usage here
is idiosyncratic, even unique.

4 - Of course, every English-speaking nation has its own

unique set of English phrases and idioms; English is equally
idiosyncratic in, say, India, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, or Singapore.
There is no right or wrong way to speak English. The many
versions of English spoken around the globe merely serve to
make English an even richer tongue. However, the purpose of
this column is to shed light on Philippine culture from a
foreign perspective, and many Filipinos may be surprised to
find out that some of the phrases they use daily are unique to
this country, thus sound odd to visitors.
5 - If you ask most English-speakers from abroad to pick just
one idiom unique to the Philippines, I reckon 75 percent would
select that stalwart phrase, "for a while." This is the English
translation of the Tagalog, "sandali lang."

6 - Whilst the component words of the phrase "for a while" are

clearly English, this expression as a whole does not exist in the
rest of the English-speaking world. In the UK, where I come
from, the idiomatic equivalent would be something like "just a
second" or "just a moment."

7 - On the telephone, where "for a while" is frequently used in

the Philippines, in England we might use "hold on," "hold the
line" or, informally "hang on."
8 - My second favorite uniquely Filipino-English phrase
is "I'll go ahead." Used when leaving a place before the
person addressed, it is a translation of the Tagalog
"mauuna na ako." "I'll go ahead" sounds funny to me,
because it seems to imply that the listener should follow.
If someone's going ahead, then someone must be
following behind, right? When I first heard my secretary
say "I'll go ahead," I thought she was expecting me to
follow her to some secret assignation! Sadly, this turned
out not to be the case; she's now suing me for stalking
her. ("Just kidding!", as they say in the Philippines).
9 - In the third place for me comes the phrase "I will be the
one to do that." This is a translation of the Tagalog "ako na
lang ang gagawa." Frequently shortened to just "I will be the
one" ("ako na lang"), this is a Filipino-English way of saying
"I'll do it" or "let me do it." These shorter versions would be
the idioms I would use more commonly in the UK.

10 - I was always taught by my English professors that the

shorter the words used, and the simpler the grammatical
construction, the better the resultant English. Perhaps that's
why the four extra words "be the one to," inserted into the
already perfectly adequate phrase "I will do that," sound odd
to anyone taught English in England.
11 - Another example of this type of seemingly unnecessarily
weighty construction is the marvelous phrase "make an ocular
inspection," which I caught my girlfriend Kitty saying in the back
of the car last weekend. Ocular inspection?!? Per-lease! What's
wrong with "go and have a look," I'd like to know?

12 - From an intellectual point of view, one of the fascinations in

all of this is how these phrases evolved. At some point in history it
must have been deemed necessary to have an English equivalent
for Tagalog phrases such as"sandali lang." At that moment, what
you might imagine would happen is that the nation would borrow
an existing equivalent idiom from an existing English-speaking
nation. The magic is that, instead, the nation invented its own
English idioms, and by so doing enriched the world of English.
13 - I was so massively confused for at least my first two
years over a couple of time-related phrases. The one that
really gave me problems was the phrase "the other day."
In the UK, it merely means "recently," i.e. a few days ago,
whereas in the Philippines it means, quite specifically,
the day before yesterday. I used to get furious when I
would read in the paper that the Philippine peso closed
at a certain rate against the dollar "the other day." This
seemed to me to be a terribly imprecise piece of
information, until I realized that the phrase was far more
specific here than in England!
14 - More confusion in the language of time arises from
different usage of the word "last." Filipinos tend to use
the English word "last" wherever they would use the
Tagalog word "noon." This results in pharses like "last
October 26th" and "last 1994," which we would not use
in England. Instead, we would tend to say "on October
26th" and "in 1994," only using "last" in the context of
"last week" or "last year."
15 - And lastly, English in the Philippines has spawned
some unusual nouns connected with the world of crime
that commonly appear in the newspaper headlines, but
which are unusual to me. Where I come from, "graft"
means hard work; "salvage" means rescuing things that
have sunk; and I had to look up "mulcting" in the
dictionary. It sounds like it ought to be something to do
with fertilizing flowerbeds, but it turns out to be more
about enriching policemen than the soil.

16 - Hope you enjoyed your ocular inspection of this

article. I'll go ahead.
Varieties of Language

“ It is a specific set of “linguistic items” or human

speech patterns which can be associated with external
factors such as geographical area or a social group “


 They differ on pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling,

grammatical construction, and syntax
Factors of Variation in English

Ethnic and races
Social (class, age, gender, socioeconomic
status & education
Registers of Language

“ It is a variety of language used for a particular purpose

or a setting and varies on how language is used, written
or oral depending on the user ”.

-Joos (1961)
Registers of Language
Very Formal, Frozen or Static Register
- a non-emotional topics
- a language that remains unchanged due to
custom or etiquette, particularly in printed or often
repeated form

bible quotations
Panatang Makabayan
Registers of Language
Formal or Regulated Register
- a one-way participation
- the use of language usually follows a
commonly accepted format

news casting
public speeches
Registers of Language
Neutral, Professional or Consultative Register
- a two-way participation
- background information is needed

doctor and patient
lawyer and client
conversation between teacher and student
Registers of Language
Informal, Group or Casual Register
- this is informal language used by peers
- slang and colloquialisms are normal

chats and emails
buddies, teammates
blogs, letters to friends
Registers of Language
Very informal, Personal or Intimate Register
- the communication is private
- reserved for close family members or
intimate people

boyfriend and girlfriend
parent and children
Directions: Think of the ways the English language is
used in Philippine pop culture. What additional
examples of unique expressions in English can you think
of that young Filipinos use in everyday interactions?

Group 1: skit or scenario

Group 2: writing a dialogue conversation
Group 3: drawing or meme
Group 4: table chart
Activity 2
Question: In what ways does Philippine English differs
from British English? What are their similarities?
The King’s English
and I
by Carla Montemayor
1. Using or containing too many words; wordy; long-

2. Extract money from someone by fine or taxation.

3. A round pan that you use to cook things on the stove.

4. Someone who is not easily upset; calm; good in

5. A vegetable with a smooth, dark purple skin.

6. Are long thin vegetables with dark green

7. A British pudding, traditionally made with dark green

8. A service involving an amount added to something in

order to raise it to or maintain it at a desired level.
The King’s English
and I
by Carla Montemayor
1 - I have always had a love affair with English, and for
that reason I write in this language. I’ve encountered
Singlish (the okay lahs of Singapore), Deep South
English (brung and y’all), Japanese English (no R’s),
Ilocano English (all R’s), and I have never had major
surprises until now—with English English, the way they
speak it here in the UK.
2 - It’s not that I was ignorant of its peculiarities. I had
read British authors, watched British films, and spoken
with British people long before I got here. All that,
however, still did not prepare me for the shock of the
3 - For starters, there’s the verbose politesse. The British
will not just say “thanks,” they will invariably say, “Thank
you very much indeed,” or “Thank you ever so much.”
Ever so much na, indeed pa. How does one reply
adequately to that? “You are profoundly welcome from
the deepest recesses of my heart”?
4 - Sometimes I feel like bowing. Then there are the
dramatic exclamations. Things are never just “okay” or
“nice” or even “great”; they are “splendid,” “fantastic,” and
“brilliant.” It’s overwhelming and somewhat suspicious
for someone whose own language is restrained in the
deployment of superlatives.
5 - Maganda (beautiful), magaling (good), and ang
galing-galing(really good) are about all we can bring
ourselves to describe anything we’re impressed with,
although we do make up for it with emphatic gestures
and lively vocal tones. The British, when pronouncing
something as being“superb,” will make the most frugal of
lip movements and the slightest of eyebrow lifts.
6 - Requests are bound to be long-winded. “You don’t
suppose you could turn the light on, do you, that is if you
don’t mind and if it’s not too much trouble, of course?”
I’m tempted to reply with a similar treatise, but I just say,
yes, I suppose the Filipino CAN!
7 - But CANS are not in vogue here. My housemate asked me for
a TIN opener, not a CAN opener. And we’re all supposed to
throw our trash in the trash BIN, not the trash CAN. This must
have confused the English when Bin Laden burst into the
political scene because, well, the bin is always laden and that is
why one must empty it regularly.

8 - One evening, I decided I could speak fancy English as well as

everyone, and so I announced to my housemates that I would
be buying a small SKILLET. That was met with blank
expressions. I am buying a small skillet so that we won’t have to
fry eggs in that big pan, I announced again. Oh, a FRYING PAN,
they chorused. (Celtic barbarians, I muttered under my breath.)
But when they did fry poTAHtoes in that pan, they weren’t
FRIES at all but had somehow been transformed into CHIPS.
9 - Don’t get me started with those poTAHtoes and
toMAHtoes. I scoured the grocery shelves and there
wasn’t any toMAHto SAUCE, just diced toMAHtoes in
toMAHto JUICE. But I don’t want to drink it! I want to
cook with it!

10 - I went on to the vegetable section already stressed

out. No one knows of EGGPLANTS around here, just
AUBERGINES. I could not positively identify the
ZUCCHINIS because they were hiding under the alias
COURGETTES. I’ve lost all hope of finding mustasa
because I’m sure they’re not called “moustache.”
11 - I’ve seen menus featuring “spotted dick,” but I’m too
embarrassed to order it. I searched for BISCUITS,
ignoring large packages of DIGESTIVES, which I thought
were for septuagenarians who had to put all solid food
through a blender.

12 - And because this is the north of England, I’ve been

invited to TEA in the evening in which no tea was served
—it was actually DINNER. Then I was asked to DINNER,
which turned out to be LUNCH. So now when they ask
what I’m having for “tea,” I say “rice.” And when someone
invites me to “dinner,” I no longer plan to wear a shiny
13- I have also ceased to recoil upon hearing the various
endearments with which total strangers address me:
“luv” (fairly common), “flower,” “angel,” and—get this
—“duck.” Why the name of a domestic fowl is considered
a fond nickname, I have no idea. If someone called me
“bibe” (duck) back home, I would surely be livid and yell
back, “Itik” (skinny Philippine fowl)!
14 - I have had to LOAD credits onto a local SIM card given to
me by a friend, but I found out right away that there is no
pre-paid “loading” here, only TOP-UP service. You top-up
your mobile phone, tuition, bank balance. All that topping
up requires money, of course, and I cannot help making
mental computations to convert pounds into pesos. (One
pound is now about a hundred pesos.) So when I get a
“concession” ticket (a discounted ticket for students) to watch
a movie for “just” five pounds, I have actually spent P500 to
see a film. Oh, bollocks! as the Brits would exclaim, and to
that I can certainly relate because it sounds
like bulok (rotten) and in the plural, too. In other words,
bulok na bulok (very rotten).
15 - Due to all the budgeting I have had to do, I have
become better at MATHS—yes, in the plural, as well. But for
the first time in my life, my spelling skills have to be, er,
topped up. It’s labour, with a U. It’s analyse and offence. All
my written academic work is riddled with words underlined
in red. I am completely DISORIENTED, but since this is
England, I must be DISORIENTATED. Bloody strange, if
you will excuse my English.

16 - Anyway, I don’t understand why “bloody” or “bleeding”

is considered a swear word in this country. In Tagalog, if a
meeting or a confrontation is particularly tense, it will be
described as madugo (bloody). How is that filthy?
17 - Probably for the same reason that here, “phlegmatic”
is something of a flattering adjective. To be full of
phlegm is to be quintessentially British: calm and
unflappable. Me, I’m from a population of weak lungs
where the horror of tuberculosis is still euphemized by
the term “primary complex.” I neither possess nor desire
any phlegm whatsoever.

18 - To each language its own bodily fluid. lovely, isn’t it?

=) c u later, my ducks! =)
Direction: Watch the video, Don’t Judge My African American
English” using this link --
https://www/ &. Be ready
to answer the following questions:

1. Describe the features of African American English based on

what the different speaker shared and showed in the video.
2. In what way is African American English both a form of
rebellion and expression?
3. One of the speakers in the video said, “Grammar is a big thing
in this society”
4. How is African American English judged by the society? Do
you share the same observation? Support your answer.
5. What is the purpose of the video? What message does it
convey to its viewers?