來源: 環球網校 2019-11-15 10:22:52 頻道: 新概念

Isn't the English language marvellous?


Some wouldn't say so, but for 20 years traditional British words have slowly been replaced by Americanisms。


And now, words like 'marvellous' have been usurped by the US cliché: 'awesome'。


The gradual change, charted by researchers at Cambridge University and Lancaster University, has also seen the decline of 'cheerio', 'pussy cat', 'marmalade' and 'fortnight', which are now barely used by anglophones。

劍橋大學和蘭卡斯特大學的研究人員通過圖表反映了這種語言現象的演變。根據圖表,“cheerio”(再見)、“pussy cat”(小貓咪)、“marmalade”(果醬)等英式英語詞匯的使用呈現下降趨勢,幾乎已被英語母語人士所拋棄。

While in the 1990s we were captivated by 'Walkmans', today it has been replaced by the likes of 'online' and 'smartphone'。


Other words like 'catalogue' and 'drawers', which were also regulars of the 1990s, have had to make way for 21st century sayings like 'Facebook', 'internet', 'Google', 'essentially' and 'treadmill'。


Figures show that in 2014 the word 'awesome' appears 72 times per million words compared to 'marvellous', which has fallen in use from 155 times per million 20 years ago to only two times per million today。


Researchers believe the digital revolution and America's growing influence on our culture have dramatically changed the way British people speak。


Language expert Professor Tony McEnery, from the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University, said: 'These very early findings suggest the things that are most important to British society are indeed reflected in the amount we talk about them。


'New technologies like Facebook have really captured our attention, to the extent that, if we're not using it, we're probably talking about it。


'The rise of 'awesome' seems to provide evidence of American English's influence on British speakers.'


These are only the initial findings from a small pilot of the project, named the 'Spoken British National Corpus 2014', which is now underway。


Prof McEnery said: 'We need to gather hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations to create a spoken corpus so we can continue to analyse the way language has changed over the last 20 years。


'We are calling for people to send us MP3 files of their everyday, informal conversations in exchange for a small payment to help me and my team to delve deeper into spoken language.'


It is an ambitious project. Prof McEnery said: 'It has not been completed to this scale in the UK since the early 1990s。


'That data, which is now out of date, is still used by researchers from around the world today, so we know there is a real appetite for research of this kind。


'It is of great importance to collect new recordings from the 2010s in order to understand the nature of British English speech as it is today and not how it was more than two decades ago.'


Using the 'Spoken British National Corpus 2014', the team at Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press will be able to shed light on the way our spoken language changes over time。


The research also allows analysis into language used in different regions, between genders and across different age groups。


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