Μπραντ (bugtilaheh) wrote in linguaphiles,
Μπραντ
bugtilaheh
linguaphiles

Language Variation

Okay, for my Language Study class, which is more or less an Introduction to Linguistics course, I am about to write a paper about language variation. Our class is in the process of brainstorming right now and it is a bit difficult to come up with a topic without being too broad (our teacher said pretty much anything goes; you can talk about lexical, phonological and morphological processes, syntax, Internet slang, etc). I thought maybe I'd do my paper on one of my teachers. I'm also taking a Beverage Survey class, so we're learning everything you can imagine about wines, beers, and spirits. We have guest speakers come in and talk about their alcoholic beverage products and we get to taste them.

Anyway, my Beverage Survey professor is from Greece. His native language is Greek. He's been in Texas for the last 30 or so years but still has somewhat of an accent (I'm trying to watch my words here; I know everyone has an accent). I have never met a person whose native language is Greek, so it has been really interesting listening to his lectures. I'm interested in studying his idiolect and stuff like that. Since I know little to nothing about the Greek language and its grammar, I'm curious about his formation of sentences, his use of vocabulary, his pronunciation, etc. I could do this paper on my boss who is originally from Mexico, but it seems like a lot of students in my class are thinking of doing their papers on people whose first language is Spanish.

I know I can look up stuff on Google and Wikipedia and such, but what type of articles do you suggest me reading or what keywords should I use when searching? I know I should probably get a basic understanding of Greek grammar, syntax, etc. and compare it to English. Does anyone know of a site where they talk about Greek speakers who speak English as their second language? Their quirks, grammar mistakes when switching to English, the reasons why they make certain mistakes in English because that's how they would say it in Greek or certain pronunciation mishaps, etc.

e.g., a Spanish speaker saying or writing "this" when they meant "these" because an "i" is always /i/ in Spanish and not /ɪ/. Or a Spanish speaker leaving out "a" in such a sentence as "I'm a teacher" since in Spanish the indefinite article would be omitted in this case (although come to think of it, I've never heard a native Spanish-speaker make that mistake in English, so that's probably a bad example). My boss has trouble with past tense -ed and third person singular -s, for example. Or say, someone speaking Engrish.

Oh, here's an example from my professor whose native language is Greek:
California requires that 100% of the grapes must be grown in California and that the state name must appear on the label.

That sounds wrong to me. I would leave out "must." (Edit: Please note I'm not trying to be prescriptive or anything and saying it's completely wrong and there's no other option; I'm just going by what sounds okay to my native ears. :) Is there some grammar construction in Greek that would allow this in Greek and doesn't translate the same way in English?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-native_pronunciations_of_English
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