Ship English

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Title: Ship English
Author: Schultz, Patrick, 1985-
Abstract: This historical sociolinguistic study investigates the language of English seamen in the seventeenth century . Built on language data compiled from log books (Matthews 1935 ) and a survey of the maritime population from 1582 , the author argues that the seafaring community had developed its own sociolect , which was based on the dialects of Southern England . Writers (e .g . Jonathan Swift , Daniel Defoe ) and historians describe this “Ship English” : [S]ailors stood out from landsmen in a variety of ways . In the first place by their dress [ . . .] Sailors were also recognisable by their speech , in which technical terms , slang and oaths had thickened to produce a private language . (Burke 1996 :44 -45 ) Following Ross and Bailey (1988 ) , the author argues that this sociolect emerged from dialect contact (Trudgill 2004 ) aboard ship , with Southern dialects as the major input varieties : Several phonological features of Southern Early Modern English (e .g . diphthongization of Middle English /u : / and /a : / , split of /u / into / and / , /w / - /v / interchange ) are pervasive in the data . Apart from being a interesting case study in itself , the results might be of importance for research on pidgins and creoles and colonial dialects : it has been argued (Hancock 1976 ) that nautical English has had a profound impact on the emergence of anglophone creoles because it – rather than some kind of Standard English – was the actual “superstrate” variety for most creoles . For the same reason , it might have influenced the emergence of the overseas varieties of English .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2236
Date: 2011-02-18


Ship English. Master's thesis, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2236 .

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