Introduction

Jeffrey P. Williams, Edgar W. Schneider, Peter Trudgill, Daniel Schreier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

With the appearance of the seminal piece on ‘lesser-known’ varieties of English by Trudgill in 2002, a research trajectory was charted that gathered together scholars involved in the documentation of overlooked and understudied varieties of English, many of which were spoken by very small groups of people in remote and isolated locales. This assorted group of ‘lessers’ gained prominence in the literature for their value in providing insights into larger questions in linguistics and sociolinguistics, culminating in the first instance in an edited collection of documentary descriptions and analyses (Schreier, Trudgill, Schneider and Williams 2010). We continue to expand our treatment of lesser-known varieties of English (LKVEs) in this second volume of further documentary descriptions. As we stated at the outset of the first introductory volume to the documentation and study of LKVEs, one fundamental problem has to do with how to evaluate and demarcate the status of the term ‘lesser-known’. To aid the reader, we once again reproduce the set of characteristics we outlined in the previous volume here in order to set the template for the individual contributions that follow. Lesser-known Englishes: are spoken as first languages and not as ESL or EFL varieties, often in environments where bi- or multilingualism is restricted; are identified as distinct varieties by their respective speech communities and other groups in their social environment; are associated with stable communities or regions; are typically spoken by minorities; they are usually delimitated (not necessarily ‘isolated’ but socially or regionally distinct) to small communities which are embedded into a larger (regional) population ecology; were, many of them, originally transmitted by settler communities or adopted by newly formed social communities that emerged early in the colonial era, so that they substantially derive from British inputs; were formed by processes of dialect and/or language contact (which makes it impossible to ascribe them genetic status, e.g. creoles or koinés, see below); frequently take the function as identity carriers by their respective communities; are very often endangered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFurther Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages1-8
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781139108652
ISBN (Print)9781107021204
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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