Concept: British English
We report here trends in the usage of “mood” words, that is, words carrying emotional content, in 20th century English language books, using the data set provided by Google that includes word frequencies in roughly 4% of all books published up to the year 2008. We find evidence for distinct historical periods of positive and negative moods, underlain by a general decrease in the use of emotion-related words through time. Finally, we show that, in books, American English has become decidedly more “emotional” than British English in the last half-century, as a part of a more general increase of the stylistic divergence between the two variants of English language.
This study compares the duration and first two formants (F1 and F2) of 11 nominal monophthongs and five nominal diphthongs in Standard Southern British English (SSBE) and a Northern English dialect. F1 and F2 trajectories were fitted with parametric curves using the discrete cosine transform (DCT) and the zeroth DCT coefficient represented formant trajectory means and the first DCT coefficient represented the magnitude and direction of formant trajectory change to characterize vowel inherent spectral change (VISC). Cross-dialectal comparisons involving these measures revealed significant differences for the phonologically back monophthongs /ɒ, ɔː, ʊ, uː/ and also /зː/ and the diphthongs /eɪ, əʊ, aɪ, ɔɪ/. Most cross-dialectal differences are in zeroth DCT coefficients, suggesting formant trajectory means tend to characterize such differences, while first DCT coefficient differences were more numerous for diphthongs. With respect to VISC, the most striking differences are that /uː/ is considerably more diphthongized in the Northern dialect and that the F2 trajectory of /əʊ/ proceeds in opposite directions in the two dialects. Cross-dialectal differences were found to be largely unaffected by the consonantal context in which the vowels were produced. The implications of the results are discussed in relation to VISC, consonantal context effects and speech perception.
Although the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire is widely used in the UK, no British English version is available. The aim of this study was to linguistically validate the DASH into British English and then test the reliability and validity of the British English DASH, (including the Work and Sport/Music DASH) and QuickDASH, in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
When interacting with people with aphasia, communication partners use a range of subtle strategies to scaffold, or facilitate, expression and comprehension. The present article analyses the unintended effects of these ostensibly helpful acts. Twenty people with aphasia and their main communication partners (n = 40) living in the UK were video recorded engaging in a joint task. Three analyses reveal that: (1) scaffolding is widespread and mostly effective, (2) the conversations are dominated by communication partners, and (3) people with aphasia both request and resist help. We propose that scaffolding is inherently paradoxical because it has contradictory effects. While helping facilitates performing an action, and is thus enabling, it simultaneously implies an inability to perform the action independently, and thus it can simultaneously mark the recipient as disabled. Data are in British English.
The studies described in this article outline the design and development of a British English version of the coordinate response measure (CRM) speech-in-noise (SiN) test. Our interest in the CRM is as a SiN test with high face validity for occupational auditory fitness for duty (AFFD) assessment.
We compared outcomes from 2 measures of language ability in children who displayed a range of dialect variation: 1 using features that do not contrast between mainstream American English (MAE) and nonmainstream dialects (NMAE), and 1 using contrastive features. We investigated how modified scoring procedures affected the diagnostic accuracy of the measure with contrastive features.
The word segmentation paradigm originally designed by Jusczyk and Aslin (1995) has been widely used to examine how infants from the age of 7.5months can extract novel words from continuous speech. Here we report a series of 13 studies conducted independently in two British laboratories, showing that British English-learning infants aged 8-10.5months fail to show evidence of word segmentation when tested in this paradigm. In only one study did we find evidence of word segmentation at 10.5months, when we used an exaggerated infant-directed speech style. We discuss the impact of variations in infant-directed style within and across languages in the course of language acquisition.
The Juvenile Arthritis Multidimensional Assessment Report (JAMAR) is a new parent/patient-reported outcome measure that enables a thorough assessment of the disease status in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). We report the results of the cross-cultural adaptation and validation of the parent and patient versions of the JAMAR in the British English language. The reading comprehension of the questionnaire was tested in ten JIA parents and patients. Each participating centre was asked to collect demographic, clinical data and the JAMAR in 100 consecutive JIA patients or all consecutive patients seen in a 6-month period and to administer the JAMAR to 100 healthy children and their parents. The statistical validation phase explored descriptive statistics and the psychometric issues of the JAMAR: the three Likert assumptions, floor/ceiling effects, internal consistency, Cronbach’s alpha, interscale correlations, test-retest reliability, and construct validity (convergent and discriminant validity). A total of 100 JIA patients (7.0% systemic, 38.0% oligoarticular, 27.0% RF negative polyarthritis, 28% other categories) and 100 healthy children, were enrolled at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. The JAMAR components discriminated well healthy subjects from JIA patients. All JAMAR components revealed good psychometric performances. In conclusion, the British English version of the JAMAR is a valid tool for the assessment of children with JIA and is suitable for use both in routine clinical practice and clinical research.
Children’s ability to understand speakers with a wide range of dialects and accents is essential for efficient language development and communication in a global society. Here, the impact of regional dialect and foreign-accent variability on children’s speech understanding was evaluated in both quiet and noisy conditions. Five- to seven-year-old children ( n = 90) and adults ( n = 96) repeated sentences produced by three speakers with different accents-American English, British English, and Japanese-accented English-in quiet or noisy conditions. Adults had no difficulty understanding any speaker in quiet conditions. Their performance declined for the nonnative speaker with a moderate amount of noise; their performance only substantially declined for the British English speaker (i.e., below 93% correct) when their understanding of the American English speaker was also impeded. In contrast, although children showed accurate word recognition for the American and British English speakers in quiet conditions, they had difficulty understanding the nonnative speaker even under ideal listening conditions. With a moderate amount of noise, their perception of British English speech declined substantially and their ability to understand the nonnative speaker was particularly poor. These results suggest that although school-aged children can understand unfamiliar native dialects under ideal listening conditions, their ability to recognize words in these dialects may be highly susceptible to the influence of environmental degradation. Fully adult-like word identification for speakers with unfamiliar accents and dialects may exhibit a protracted developmental trajectory.
There is an ongoing debate whether phenomena of disfluency (such as filled pauses) are produced communicatively. Clark and Fox Tree (Cognition 84(1):73-111, 2002) propose that filled pauses are words, and that different forms signal different lengths of delay. This paper evaluates this Filler-As-Words hypothesis by analyzing the distribution of self-addressed-questions or SAQs (such as “what’s the word”) in relation to filled pauses. We found that SAQs address different problems in different languages (most frequently about memory-retrieval in English and Chinese, and about appropriateness in Japanese). In relation to filled pauses, British but not American English uses “um” to signal a more severe problem than “uh”. Chinese uses different filled pauses to signal the syntactic category of the problem constituent. Japanese uses different filled pauses to signal levels of interaction with the interlocuter. Overall, our data supports the Filler-As-Words hypothesis that filled pauses are used communicatively. However, the dimensions of its meanings vary across languages and dialects.