Course Code- MEG 202.
Course Code- MEG 203.
Course Code- MEG 201.
Course Code- MEG 204.
What is ‘Phonology’? What are the different aspects of phonology in a language?.
Q1. Discuss the major themes of Pride and Prejudice. What reflection of the Victorian society do you see in these themes?
Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice is among the most popular Austin novels on love. Written in the 19th century, this novel is a depiction of the Victorian era with the reign of Queen Victoria in England. The Victorian era is known to a flourishing era for economic and industrial growth in England as industrialization grew. Since literature is a reflection of society, many Victorian literary works reflect the materialism of the age. However, in between material possessions lays the love between Elizabeth and Darcy. This novel aptly depicts multiple themes exclusive to society and the age of Queen Victory.
As the title justly suggests, Pride and Prejudice is a novel centering on the pride and prejudice which is unique to human beings. In the novel, Elizabeth makes a poor judgment of Mr. Darcy based on her first impression of him – a judgment that Darcy is too proud of his status and money. Darcy, on the other hand, has prejudice towards Elizabeth's poor social standing. Darcy's social standing is one where pride is embedded and to scorn those outside his own social standing is something that seems to come naturally to those of his class, much like this mother. Elizabeth's pride, on the other hand, leads to her judging Darcy too quickly and with their pride and prejudice combined come multiple obstacles in their way holding them from uniting as one.
Another prominent theme in the novel is the theme of women and reputation. Jane Austin, in Pride and Prejudice, depicts a society where a woman’s reputation is all she has, it is given the utmost importance. Women are expected to behave in a certain, womanly/girly way and not doing so makes her subject to much ostracism. Along with the theme of a woman, her reputation is the theme of marriage. Women are made to be put out there and to interact in lady-like but flirtatious ways in order to ‘gain’ a man. This is seen in the scene on the ballroom dance night where single women are motivated to get themselves a wealthy man. Elizabeth’s mother is constantly eyeing wealthy men for her daughters.
The theme of class is all over the novel. Classism is a major theme of Pride and Prejudice. Although Austin does not presume an egalitarian ideology in the novel, there is, however, a depiction of class and using class to judge a person’s character. Darcy’s pride at the beginning of the novel is based on his class-conscious nature whereas Elizabeth's prejudice stems from her idea of what the elite class is like. In both cases, they are proven wrong in the end which leads to them falling in life. Characters such as Lady Catherine and the Bingley sisters are examples of close-minded and mean spirited class-conscious people. Additionally, Austin finds a way to use a class as a satire in the relationship between Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine. The rigid class boundaries are absurd wherein class consciousness and social formalities form a satire. Pride and Prejudice is an adequate depiction of the Victorian era and the prevailing aristocratic society of the age (Kristić, 2015).
Class and money are essential aspects of Pride and Prejudice and this depicts the materialism of the Victorian era. The characters of the novel are strictly defined by their social standing and there comes a sense of pride and prejudice respectively, depending on the social class one belongs to. Additionally, the theme of marriage and validation is characteristic of the Victorian era. Austin's female characters are expected to act and behave in a certain manner, a manner in which they are to come across as being gentle and lady-lie. This depiction resembles the mentality and society of the Victorian era where women were to behave in a certain way in order to maintain their dignity in society. It is this dignity in character and mannerism which will get these women a suitable man for marriage; else no one will wish to marry them. Much like most Victorian novels, this one too aims to depict the traits and trends of the Victorian era. Marriage, in the Victorian era, as depicted by Jane Austin is used to validate a woman. Women were subordinate to men in the nineteenth century and marrying into an affluent class or a 'gentleman' was considered a source of gaining social repute for women (Hanene, 2017). In the novel’s first line itself, Austin writes: “a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Hall, 2016).
The Victorian era experienced much industrialization and revolutionary change, however, with that, come much social change as well. The Victorian society had become materialistic and the stance of women, however, remains mostly the same. Women were made to behave and act in certain ways in order for wealthy men to find them attractive and marry them. The pride of the aristocratic society of the Victorian era is well depicted in the novel and a woman’s compromise with her own social standing to fit into society (such as Lady Catherine) is yet another depiction of the many sacrifices women were made to make in order to fit into societal expectations.
Q2. How does Dickens treat the theme of evil and suffering in his novel David Copperfield? How has this theme been related to the theme money as a force in human affairs?
David Copperfield is a novel of the eighteenth century by Charles Dickens. The novel has been among the most popular works of Dickens. David Copperfield was first published as a serial in 1849-1859 and the book came about in the year 1850. The novel depicts the life and adventures of young David Copperfield. Dickens very skillfully depicts multiple themes in the novel including the theme of poverty and suffering, of society and class, guilt and blame, family, gender, and the theme of education.
The theme of the suffering of an innocent child makes some of the most vividly affecting scenes of the novel. As David starves and suffers in a wine bottling factory as a child, the reader is taken along in the journey. The novel deals with the experiences as a child, firstly y struggling with obtaining a livelihood in the early years of his life and then eventually becoming a prosperous man who is happily married. When analyzing the theme of evil and suffering in David Copper filed, it is important to take into account the socio-economic and political affairs of the time the novel was written.
David Copperfield was written by Dickens in the Victorian age. The Victorian age has gone down in history as the age when England experienced historical shifts in terms of politics, society, science, and the economy. Hence, due to all these changes, children of the Victorian era were often be neglected. It is the social factor which influenced Dickens to pen down the story of David Copperfield (Massauda, 2013). Suffering is a prevailing theme throughout the novel right from David’s abuse by Mr. Murdstone to Doctor Strong’s sadness at the thought of his cheating wife. Apart from the suffering of the protagonist (David Copperfield), there is suffering in the lives of other characters as well. In an attempt to help those around her who are suffering, Mrs. Gimmidge rises to help them, however, she ceases to manage with her own suffering and slowly dies. Suffering is not only prevalent in the lives of all characters but also changes each of them profoundly.
Right alongside the theme of suffering is the prevailing theme of evil. Dickens makes this theme quite easy to distinguish in the novel. The symbolic battle for David’s should between Agnes Wickfielf and Steerforth is an example of the evil theme of the novel. Additionally, the character of Uriah is yet another example of a symbol of evil that is eventually defeated by Agnes, Traddles, Mr.Micawber, and Miss Betsey. The theme of evil can be closely associated with the theme of suffering and poverty, especially in David’s case as Steerforth feeds David’s desire for an upper-class life which leads David to get heavily drunk and embarrass himself in public. Dickens projects the evil side of wealth in that he shows the bad side to it. Wealth in the novel seems to leave characters such as Steerforth feeling selfish and emotionless.
It is the urge to obtain money and a better quality of life that leads David to make poor decisions and those that influence his human affairs. From one attempt to another, with the aim of making it big in life and doing away with his suffering, David often finds himself one troubled situation after another (Al-haj, 2015). Additionally, the problem of suffering throughout the novel, by various characters stems directly or indirectly from poverty. What makes things worse for the poor is that the rich are selfish and hardhearted. Dickens portrays the wealthy class as cold and emotionless – much like the real world during the Industrial Revolution. The poor are ill-treated by the rich and privileged in all sectors of social and economic life. For example, even when it comes to education at Salem House School, Steerforth and Treaddles come from different social classes where one is rich and the other is poor, respectively.
The rich seem to get different treatment than the poor, often better treatment. In order to remedy the situation and in an attempt to improve one’s social standing, characters often find themselves to choose between what is good and what is evil. Dickens uses these scenes to project the human tendency of temptation in desperate times. Desperate times often lead to desperate ensures such as David ending up drunk and embarrassing himself in public in his pursuit of money and status, and any attempt to escape suffering.
Q1. What do you understand by classical ‘three unities’ of drama? How did Dr. Samuel Johnson defend Shakespeare’s violation of these unities in his tragedies?
The three classical unities of drama are principles of drama derived by French classists in Poetics, by Aristotle. The fundamental basis of there three unities is that a drama ought to have unity in time, unity of place, and unity of action. The purpose of Aristotle’s Poetics was to outline some of the key elements that played an essential role in making a drama/play a success. These three elements are known to arise cathartic moments in the audience as catharsis was considered to be an important element in drama. The three unities of drama, if followed well, aim to bring out a sense of catharsis in the audience. Also, it is important to point out that these three unites were especially focused on tragedies (Internet Archive, n.d.).
The three unities are often also referred to as the dramatic unities and are essential in the successful delivery of a drama. The unity of time, the unity of place, and the unity of action are the three unities. To elaborate further; the unity of time refers to the importance of the action of the play is not longer than twenty-four hours. In other words, the play ought to take place in short chronology which is ideally not more than 24 hours. Secondly, the unity of place; this unity empathizes that the number of locations the action of the play takes in must be limited or ideally, just one. The play must not continuously change locations, in fact, a public square or courtyard would be more than enough for the location of a single play. Lastly, the unity of action; this unity refers to the fact that a play ought to be as succinct as can be. The playwright must avoid subplots as much as possible and understand that it is quality that overpowers quantity.
According to Aristotle, these three unities are the key requirements of a successful play. This concept of the three unities was especially essential to the critics of the Renaissance. However, many dramatists such as William Shakespeare often ceased to pay much attention to the unities of time and place. In critiquing and analyzing the works of Shakespeare, Johnsons indicates that the unity of action is the only unity that can be critically justified. Johnson accepts only the unity of action as he believes it is only this unity that indicates intensity and compactness in a play.
In his defense of the works of Shakespeare, in his preface to Shakespeare, Johnsons points out that common techniques and agreements lead to conventions and so, the three unities are ultimately dramatic conventions (Lynch, n.d). Furthermore, although such conventions may be necessary to an extent, excessive dependence on them is what creates dramatic conventions. Johnson elaborates Shakespeare is a great playwright because he avoids conventions by avoiding to conform to the three unities. Johnson may be considered a reasonable classicist due to his especially stress on being reasonable. Johnson demands that while watching a play, members of the audience are engrossed and elevated, so much, so that they do not seek truth at that moment but pure enjoyment as they are captivated with the action and plot of the play. Additionally, the audience however engrossed and enchanted with the play they may be, always subconsciously are aware that they are, after all, watching a play which is being enacted by actors reading scripted lines, hence, a change in place from one city to another can be allowed as, even to the audience, it is a play after all. By explaining it in this manner, Johnson dismisses the unity of place.
Johnson’s comments on the unity of time that the audience remains unbothered about the concept of when the action of the play takes place. A lapse of a few weeks or a year can easily be conveyed in a couple of hours in a play. Johnsons sustains that Shakespeare maintains the three unities in his other works such as his works of comedy, however, he downright defies Aristotle’s three unities when it comes to his tragedies. He further adds that Shakespeare does indeed sustain the unity of action in his other works of other genres even though the events are superfluous or out of order. Johnson says that the spectators are also aware in their subconscious that what is being performed in front of them is actually an enactment and not reality, hence, the three unities are irrelevant, it is the content that truly matters.
Q2. What are the salient features of Preface to Lyrical Ballads? How does the Preface reflect Wordsworth’s philosophy of Poetry and the Poetry making process?
When William Wordsworth first wrote his Lyrical Ballads, it was intended to be an experiment. Although published as an experiment, the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads went on to become the manifesto of Romanticism as it thoroughly and quite extensively expounds multiple features and many concepts of the Romantic verse. It was originally published in 1798 and it was in 1800 that Wordsworth added to it as he felt that the poems he wrote consisted of a new style and theme, hence, Wordsworth felt that his poems need an introduction hence he named it the Preface. Some scholars argue that originally wished to write the preface, however, since the majority of the poems were Wordsworth, it was more appropriate for him to do so instead.
Wordsworth through his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads attempted to express his theory of poetry. He has revealed multiple aspects of poetry which he found were essential to an effective and meaningful piece of poetic writing. The reason why the Lyrical Ballads were referred to as an experiment was that Wordsworth wanted to discover the effectiveness of using everyday language/diction in poetry.
Preface to the Lyrical Ballads begins with Wordsworth's discussion of the collection of poems which he had mostly written with contributions by S.T Coleridge. Wordsworth puts key focus on everyday people and incidents. The emphasis is on the use of common, everyday language and realistic representation of people. He says that “choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men” (Bartleby, n.d.).The theme of using common and real-life images, language, and circumstances meant using rural environments and situations closely related or connected to nature.
By connecting to nature, Wordsworth wished to obtain profound truths and gain emotional experiences through imagination. In other words, by staying close to nature and using every day, normal language and life, Wordsworth aimed to obtain or experience something extraordinary. Poetry, according to Wordsworth ought to be created from these ordinary or extraordinary experiences. He goes on to say that “poetry is a spontaneous overflow of emotion reflected in tranquility”. In other words, when one is close to nature, one is in a tranquil state and by being in a tranquil state, one experiences something extraordinary and it is that that a poem ought to comprise. Wordsworth wanted the theme of poetry to stick to common and everyday life. He advocated against the traditional way of writing poetry with amplified poetic diction, personification and rooted for more simple diction and the language of the people.
In the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth kept his focus on the common life theme and he avoided the use of the traditional ballad form of poetry and rather focused on the lyrical form. However, by rejecting the poetry of the past through his rejection of traditional poetic styles, Wordsworth was essentially rejecting the poetry created to treat queens, kings, heroes, etc. However, Wordsworth firmly held that real people were more relevant and true sublime emotions could only be uncovered by reflecting on real and common experiences which everyday people go through. By doing this, Wordsworth attempts to challenge the popular and common poetic practices of the 17th and 18th centuries (Shodhganga, n.d.).
Since poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility, it is important to remember, then, that poetry cannot be composed under pressure. Wordsworth says that poetry and the compilation of poetry are a matter of the poet’s mood and what he/she is feeling and in order to feel the right emotions for poetic compilation, the poet ought not to be under pressure but rather surrounded by nature. The overall intention of the poet ought to be to remove him from fantasy and polite and fancy amusement to serious art which is relatable to the common people.
Wordsworth advocates for natural poetry. He rejects the idea of superficial elements in poetry wrapped in over-sophisticated language. Also, he says that the process of creating poetry can truly be achieved in tranquility and close to nature. Poetry cannot be forced and should not be written under pressure but it should rather flow as poetry is meant to be a reflection of overflowing emotions and feelings which the poet gathers in tranquility. In suggesting the use of common diction and everyday human experiences, Wordsworth implies that the language of the upper class and lofty which is not sufficient for poetic expression. In fact, Wordsworth, throughout the Preface, seems to be closely associating cosmopolitan and elitism with corruption. There is a sense of permanence in the language of the peasantry as opposed to the language of the late neoclassical writers which Wordsworth completely rejects.
Q1. What is an Ode? Discuss the vogue of Ode writing in Romantic period with special reference to the Odes prescribed.
An ode, in poetry, refers to the kind of poem comprising of praises dedicated to the subject. Odes are lyrical in nature and are heavy in emotional expression and are often addressed to the poet's muse. The word 'ode' is derived from a Greek word ('aeidein') which essentially means 'song' and hence, odes in poetry are made up of verses and contain complex meter. Odes are a form of poetry just as sonnets or elegy, however, they are lyrical in nature and not too lengthy. Also, the tone of an ode is formal and other salient features meaning uniform and metrical feet although poets often tend to ignore this rule. Ode writing forms one of the key characteristics of the Romantic period in English literary history. The Romantic period is known to have erupted after the publication of Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge.
The Romantic period gave ode writing an improved lyric which went on to define its uniqueness. Although the origin is Greek and Roman, later day English poets modified the original Pindaric form to suit their taste and purpose. Traditional odes include the Horation Ode, Irregular Ode, and Pinder Ode. The Romantic meditative ode was developed from deriving aspects from these varying traditions. The period between 1782 and 1832 experienced a significant rise in Romanticism. This age is known to have been of self-consciousness, an age of paradox and contradiction (Zaiter, 2018). For the Romantics, the external world held unlimited possibilities for the imagination.
In Ode to the West Wind, P.B Shelly uses the Wild West winds of autumn as the subject of his ode. Shelley had written this ode on a day of tempestuous wind. The imagery used throughout the poem suggests that the speaker is observing the changes in nature as they occur in front of him. This takes one back to Wordsworth's Preface where he emphasized that a poet composes poetry in tranquility and when close to nature. Both Wordsworth and Shelley were Romantics and their love for nature as a muse for their work is what forms the backbone of Romantic writing. Another example of heavy imagery and taking inspiration from nature as the key theme of the ode writing of the Romantic period is Shelley's Ode to Skylark.
In his Ode to a Skylark, Shelly addresses a skylark and refers to it as a 'blithe Spirit' because its singing comes straight from heaven. Shelly goes on to use imageries such as "like a cloud of fire" and "white dawn" – all of these are vivid nature imageries and the flow of the ode is rhythmic and lyrical (Poetry Foundation, 2020).
Romantic poetry paid great emphasis on imaginative spontaneity where poets indulged greatly in self-expression feelings and emotions. In the Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats, much like Shelly and other Romantic ode writers, uses imagination and imagery to express the uniqueness of the urn which does not age. Keats creates an interesting paradox by carving human images on the side of the urn – these humans are both free from time but are also simultaneously frozen in time. Also, Keats asks different questions in an attempt to engage with the scenes carved into the urn.
The Romantic era was all about romanticizing nature and other subjects of poetry. While Keats Romantics the urn, Shelly romanticizes the Skylar. Each poet takes up a subject and uses it as a muse to dive into philosophical thought and imagination. By using an object, a bird, or an idea, poets of the Romantic period indulged in meaning beyond the face-value. They strived to uncover various levels of expression and provide the reader with vivid and lucid imagery through their odes. The Romantic ode has a very specific characteristic that makes it stand out from the traditional ode, and that there is often, if not always, a specific subject matter.
Romantic odes have a scene of insight or vision that reflects through the intentional use of diction and imagery appointed by the poets. Additionally, the closing stanza of these odes often contains a conclusion in the form of a new perspective which is often created by intervening meditation. The odes usually have a particular outside natural scene such as Shelly's Ode to a Skylark or Ode to the West Wind. They also have an extended meditation that is stimulated through this scene; this may either be focused on a universal issue/problem or private problem. Romanticism was not just an artistic movement but also a literary and musical movement and the Romantic ode writers have tactfully used ode writing to display not just literary creativity but also musical creativity within a poem.
Q2. What are the characteristics of Victorian poetry? Do you think Victorian ideologies were reflected in the poetry of this period? Discuss with poets prescribed
The Victorian era in English literature refers to the literature written during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). This era was a great era for English literature, for both poetry as well as prose. The most prominent poet of this era was Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning. Victorian poetry is known to have been indifferent from the contemporary or already existing style of poetry. In fact, much of the works of poetry in the Victorian era are seen as forming the bridge between the Victorian ear and the modernist poetry of the following century.
The key feature characteristics of Victorian poetry include the reclaiming of the past. In other words, poets of this era loved to indulge in the chivalrous ad heroic stories of a knight as they loved the noble courtly behaviors and wished to restore it in order to impress others. It is important to take note of the prevailing socio-cultural issues of the Victorian era in order to understand the poetry of the age. In order to fully understand the poetry of the Victorian era, it is first important to understand the socio-cultural and economic circumstances of the time which influenced the writing of the period.
The Victorian era underwent drastic change and development in the fields of literature, art, and music. Even though the Victorian era was different from the previous era, there still existed some similarities between the two periods. The key similarities were that poets from both eras had a keen interest in mysteries and myths, they were skeptical and doubtful, and, most importantly, they often questioned the rules already established by the Church. Additionally, Victorians were realists, had a focus on the masses, they were pessimists, and also had a keen interest in science and technology.
Victorian poetry is realistic in nature in comparison to Romantic poetry as Victorians believed in the real world and not an ideal world. It is this realism that made them pessimists. Due to the Industrial Revolution, there was a great advancement in science and technology which led to rapid urbanization and eventually unemployment, diseases, and death. Hence, Victorian poetry often focuses on pain and suffering as the period experienced much of it. The invention of science and technology provided Victorians with a ray of home, leading them to believe that science and technology was the solution to all their pain and suffering. Hence, Victorian poetry tries to convince readers that science and technology may be used for one’s own betterment.
Questioning the existence of God and the established rules of the Church is an important feature of Victorian poetry due to the development of science and technology. People had become skeptical in their thoughts due to the growing sense of rationalism and radicalism. Moreover, the growing corruption of the Church where the priest of the Church defying morality drove Victorians even further away from the Church and their faith in God. Poets of this era use imagery and sensory devices much like poets of the preceding era, however, the purpose here is different (Victorian Era, n.d.). Victorian poets use sensory devices and imagery to create abstract and chaotic scenes between science and religion. This abstract can be seen in James Joyce’s Ulysses with the sea God Poseidon obstructing Ulysses’ journey back home.
Keeping with the theme of realism, Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach is a dramatic monologue where the speaker voices his discontent and frustration with the chaotic modern world. He expresses that there us “neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain” (Poetry Foundation, n.d.). There is a prevailing sense of melancholy throughout the poem. The Victorians almost took it upon themselves to classify and describe the whole natural world. The likes of Robert Browning were teachers aiming to teach the world through their works of faith and sending out a moral message of instruction to the world. Along with the age of pessimism, this age can also be said to be an age of confusion. This is because on the one hand, there was the invention of technology and corruption of the Church leading people to lose faith in God, and on the other hand, there were moralists who attempted to retain or restore the faith that they saw diminish in front of their eyes. Works of browning are of the later nature. Browning attempted to restore faith in the masses.
The Victorian era and society saw a great shift in science and technology which changed the way people saw things. Additionally, the Industrial War had left many questioning everything and bringing about a sense of realism and pessimism which is reflected in Victorian poetry. Victorian poetry aptly projects not only the prevailing thought and ideology but also helps the reader understand the mood of the masses of the time.
Q2. Explain the issues which are associated with multilingualism in the context of English language teaching.
Language is an essential part of existing peacefully in human society since language is one of the key features which separates human beings from other species. With language come many other aspects. Different parts of the world have multiple different languages. While some people speak only one language, others may speak two or multiple languages. People who know only one language are referred to as monolingual people and those who speak two are called bilingual. People knowing and being fluent in more than two languages are called multilingual people. While people from various parts of the world speak various languages, there comes a barrier in teaching and learning another language when an individual has a defined first language or mother tongue. Multilingualism and multiculturalism is a world phenomenon and is present in many parts of the world today (Hansen-Pauly, n.d.).
The age of urbanization has made the learning of the English language a key skill that aids in better communication across societies and cultures. However, English is neither the first language nor one of the many languages one many know in multiple countries around the world. Second language acquisition is especially challenging in teaching contexts as multilingualism presents many issues. Multilingual contexts refer to contexts where the individual uses more than one language outside his/her school/formal workplace. Multilingual classrooms contain a mix of various students from various linguistic backgrounds who speak different languages.
While monolingual students and individuals better understand each other, the case is different in multilingual settings. Multilingual classrooms are among the biggest challenges teachers face in terms of language teaching. The effect of the mother tongue in pronouncing English words interferes with the teaching and learning process. Additionally, mother tongue interference plays a key barrier in the successful acquisition of English language learning. Teachers teaching English to non0native speakers face challenges such as insufficient training. Lack of training makes teachers not have the proper skills and knowledge in handling situations where the student simply does not understand the instructions being given in English (Rasheed, Zeeshan&Zaidi, 2017). Additionally, English language teaching and learning to multilingual classrooms is complex in that the students lack the vocabulary as well as the pronunciation due to the prevailing fluency of multiple other languages. Multilingual individuals may tend to mix up words and meanings with words and meanings of other languages and thus creating a barrier in learning the English language.
Another prevailing issue in schools and in the proper teaching f English to multilingual is the issue of switching back and forth from L1 to L2 or L3. Also, to be able to successfully learn English, it is important to develop an understanding of the use of the target language (English) in a meaningful context for the pure purpose of communication and being a competent communicator in the target language. Also to be able to effectively develop the cognitive capabilities in the child/individual to be able to better learn and understand English plays an important role in teaching English to multilingual individuals. Teachers may employ various language teaching theories such as the socio-cultural learning theory in language development where the teaching of language is focused on in a social context. This theory emphasizes that language is learned through social contexts and social interaction. Hence, by surrounding oneself around English speakers, one may naturally develop an understanding of the language (Lugoloobi-Nalunga, 2013).
Although there are multiple complexities arising from English language acquisition in a multilingual context, the key issues arise from the varying perspectives of a multicultural society. The problem is with the existing linguistic and cultural knowledge of the place where English is being attempted to be introduced. The mother tongue influence along with the influence of the knowledge of already existing knowledge of other cultures and languages may interfere in the successful learning of English. However, multilingual contexts may, in fact, also aid in learning English. Since multilingual individuals have knowledge of various pronunciations and understanding of various languages, it may help in learning another language due to the vast knowledge of various lexis and phonemes.
Multilingual individuals have the ability to adapt and spontaneously change languages according to the requirement of the situation. By nature, multilingual has a flair for language and pick up language easier than monolingual. Hence, teaching English to a multilingual individual may have limitations, however, the advantage of the person knowing multiples languages helps in getting various contexts, meanings, and pronunciation of words correctly since the tongue of the multilingual individuals is already used to pronouncing various terms in various languages.
What is ‘Phonology’? What are the different aspects of phonology in a language?
In linguistics, phonology refers to the study of sounds with regards to the audition, production and perception of a speech sound produced by an individual. The study of phonology aims to understand the function of a sound within the context of a given language and how that sound operates on various levels of a sound system (School of English, n.d.). In other words, one can easily change the meaning of the word by simply pronouncing the same word with different stress on syllables or changing the sound of the word to suit the context of what is being said or the purpose the speaker aims to achieve. For example, the words 'rat' and 'mat' sound the same apart from a variation of a single sound. These words are identical with the only variation being a single sound which is what sets the words apart – this is called contrasting sounds. These distinctive sounds in English are called phonemes. Hence, phonology is the study of sound patterns and their meanings both within the languages as well as across various other languages.
In English, the same word can be used to mean completely different things although they may be spelled the same. For example, the word ‘record’ can be used differently in varying context by merely changing the stress on a different syllable The word can be used as a noun referring you a piece of music media and it can also be used as a verb referring to registering or saving a piece of information. Therefore, in order o learn English, English language learners cannot only base the pronunciation of the word solely on the basis of what is seen but it is rather also equally important to consider the context of what is being said in order to determine the pronunciation to use.
Aspects of phonology include free variation, minimal pairs, phones and allophones, syllable structure, etc.(ielanguages, 2019). Free variation refers to the same word being pronounced differently by different speakers purely due to varying accents or dialectical differences such as American and British English. Minimal pars, on the other hand, are words that sound the same except for one sound such as 'cat' and 'bat'. These words are minimal pairs because they sound almost the same with just one different sound separating them. Another example of minimal pairs is 'time' and 'time'. Apart from this, the other aspect of phones and allophones also comprise the complex umbrella of phonology. Phones are not actual sounds but are rather abstract representations of sounds or phonological units of a langue. Phones are actually single speech sounds which together make up phonemes. In other words, phonemes are families of phones. A phoneme, then is the smallest sound unit produced in the sound system, for example, the sound 't' produced in the word ‘tip’.
The English language has some speech sounds which do not exist in other languages, or other languages may have certain speech sounds that do not exist in English such as the clicking sound in Zulu or some words in Arabic. Due to this, native speakers of different language often face difficulties in producing sounds of other languages which are not their own mother tongue. The influence of the mother tongue or L1 plays a significant role in one's L2 acquisition. Apart from this, other complex features such as the syllable structure and syllable stress greatly impact the way language is learned or perceived. The structure of syllables in other languages may vary to a large extent to that of the English language and this is yet another barrier in learning English for non-native speakers of the language.
The meaning of a word is arbitrary to those who are not familiar with the target language. Hence, a person may not know what the word sounds like, let alone what it means. Additionally, when stress is placed on different syllables in different contexts, it becomes furthermore complicated for a non-native speaker. Stress on different parts of a word may be placed depending on the use and context of the word. Also, learners of the English language ought to distinguish vowel sounds and consonant sounds. The pronunciation of vowel sounds and consonant sounds may also be different depending on the contexts they are being used in.
These are the things that are studied and investigated in the study of phonology. The stud of sound units and how various sounds may be out together to form a family of words that can mean different things in different contexts. The study of phonology makes it clear why English language acquisition may be complex for non-English speakers. Context is an important aspect that needs to be considered in language and the use of the same word.
Al-Haj, A. (2015). Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield: New critical reconsiderations. English Language and Literature Studies, 5(4), 31-35.
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