Crash Course English Literature: In which John Green kicks off the Crash Course Literature mini series with a reasonable set of questions. Why do we read? What's the point of reading critically. John will argue that reading is about effectively communicating with other people. Unlike a direct communication though, the writer has to communicate with a stranger, through time and space, with only "dry dead words on a page." So how's that going to work? Find out with Crash Course Literature! Also, readers are empowered during the open letter, so that's pretty cool.

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: None minutes

Premier: None

Crash Course English Literature - American English - Netflix

American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and is the common language used by the federal government, to the extent that all laws and compulsory education are practiced in English. Though not an officially established language of the whole country, English is considered the de facto language and is given official status by 32 of the 50 state governments. As an example, while both Spanish and English have equivalent status in the local courts of Puerto Rico, under federal law, English is the official language for any matters being referred to the United States district court for the territory. The use of English in the United States is a result of English and British colonization of the Americas. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America during the 17th century, followed by further migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, American English has developed into new dialects, in some cases under the influence of West African and Native American languages, German, Dutch, Irish, Spanish, and other languages of successive waves of immigrants to the United States. American English varieties form a linguistic continuum of dialects more similar to each other than to English dialects of other countries, including some common pronunciations and other features found nationwide. Any North American English accent perceived as free of noticeably local, ethnic, or cultural markers is popularly called “General American”, a fairly uniform standard of broadcast mass media and the highly educated. Otherwise, according to Labov, with the major exception of Southern American English, regional accents throughout the country are not yielding to this standard, and historical and present linguistic evidence does not support the notion of there being one single “mainstream” American accent. On the contrary, the sound of American English continues to evolve, with some local accents disappearing, but several larger regional accents emerging.

Crash Course English Literature - Phonology - Netflix

L-velarization: England's typical distinction between a “clear L” (i.e. [l]) and a “dark L” (i.e. [ɫ] or sometimes even [ʟ]) is much less noticeable in nearly all dialects of American English; it is often altogether absent. Instead, most U.S. speakers pronounce all “L” sounds with a tendency to be “dark”, meaning with some degree of velarization. The only notable exceptions to this are in some Spanish-influenced U.S. English varieties (such as East Coast Latino English, which typically shows a clear “L” in syllable onsets); in New York City English, where the /l/ is clear in prevocalic positions; and in older, moribund Southern speech of the U.S., where “L” is clear in an intervocalic environment between front vowels. Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may commonly be realized as [ɾ̃] or simply [n], making winter and winner homophones in fast or non-careful speech. The vowel /ɪ/ in unstressed syllables generally merges with /ə/ (weak-vowel merger), so effect is pronounced like affect. Some mergers found in most varieties of both American and British English include: Horse–hoarse merger, making the vowels /ɔ/ and /o/ before 'r' homophones, with homophonous pairs like horse/hoarse, corps/core, for/four, morning/mourning, war/wore, etc. homophones. Wine–whine merger, making pairs like wine/whine, wet/whet, Wales/whales, wear/where, etc. homophones, in most cases eliminating /ʍ/, the voiceless labiovelar fricative. Many older varieties of southern and western American English still keep these distinct, but the merger appears to be spreading.

Dropping of /j/ is much more extensive than in most of England. In most North American accents, /j/ is dropped after all alveolar and interdental consonants (i.e. everywhere except after /p/, /b/, /f/, /h/, /k/, and /m/) so that new, duke, Tuesday, presume are pronounced [nu], [duk], [ˈtuzdeɪ], [pɹɪˈzum]. /æ/ tensing in environments that vary widely from accent to accent. With most American speakers, for whom the phoneme /æ/ operates under a somewhat continuous system, /æ/ has both a tense and a lax allophone (with a kind of “continuum” of possible sounds between those two extremes, rather than a definitive split). In these accents, /æ/ is overall realized before nasal stops as more tense (approximately [eə̯]), while other environments are more lax (approximately the standard [æ]); for example, note the vowel sound in [mæs] for mass, but [meə̯n] for man). In some American accents, though, specifically those from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, [æ] and [eə̯] are entirely separate (or “split”) phonemes, for example, in planet [pɫænɪ̈t̚] vs. plan it [pɫeənɪ̈t̚]. This is often called the Mid-Atlantic split-a system. Note that these vowels move in the opposite direction in the mouth compared to the backed British “broad A”; this phenomenon has been noted as related to the increasingly rare phenomenon of older speakers of the eastern New England (Boston) area for whom /æ/ changes to /ɑ/ before /f/, /s/, /θ/, /ð/, /z/, /v/ alone or when preceded by a homorganic nasal. Flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [ɾ] before unstressed vowels (as in “butter” [ˈbʌɾəɹ], “party” [ˈpɑɹɾi]) and syllabic /l/ (“bottle” [ˈbɑɾəɫ]), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (“what else” [wʌˈɾɛɫs], “whatever” [wʌˈɾɛvəɹ]). Thus, for most speakers, pairs such as ladder/latter, metal/medal, and coating/coding are pronounced the same, except with the stressed /aɪ/ (see below). Canadian raising of /aɪ/: many speakers split the sound /aɪ/ based on its presence before either a voiceless or voiced consonant, so that in writer it is pronounced [ʌɪ] but in rider it is pronounced [äɪ] (because [t] is a voiceless consonant while [d] is voiced). This is a form of Canadian raising but, unlike more extreme forms of that process, does not affect /aʊ/. In many areas and idiolects, a distinction between what elsewhere become homophones through this process is maintained by vowel lengthening in the vowel preceding the formerly voiced consonant, e.g., [ˈɹʌɪɾɚ] for “writer” as opposed to [ˈɹäɪɾɚ] for “rider”. Many speakers in the Inland North, North Central American English, and Philadelphia dialect areas raise /aɪ/ before voiced consonants in certain words as well, particularly [d], [g] and [n]. Hence, words like tiny, spider, cider, tiger, dinosaur, cyber-, beside, idle (but sometimes not idol), and fire may contain a raised nucleus. The use of [ʌɪ] rather than [aɪ] in such words is unpredictable from phonetic environment alone, though it may have to do with their acoustic similarity to other words that do contain [ʌɪ] before a voiceless consonant, per the traditional Canadian-raising system. Hence, some researchers have argued that there has been a phonemic split in these dialects; the distribution of the two sounds is becoming more unpredictable among younger speakers.

Traditionally, the “East Coast” comprises three or four major linguistically distinct regions, each of which possesses English varieties both distinct from each other as well as quite internally diverse: New England, the New York metropolitan area, the Mid-Atlantic states (centering on Philadelphia and Baltimore), and the Southern United States. The only traditionally r-dropping (or non-rhotic) regional accents of American English are all spoken along the Atlantic Coast and parts of the Gulf Coast (particularly still in Louisiana), because these areas were in close historical contact with England and imitated prestigious varieties of r-dropping London (a feature now widespread throughout most of England) at a time when they were undergoing changes.. Today, non-rhoticity is confined in the United States to the accents of eastern New England, New York City, older speakers of the former plantation South, and African-American Vernacular English (though the vowel-consonant cluster found in “bird”, “work”, “hurt”, “learn”, etc. usually retains its r pronunciation, even in these non-rhotic accents). Other than these few varieties, American accents are rhotic, pronouncing every instance of the ⟨r⟩ sound. Many British accents have evolved in other ways compared to which General American English has remained relatively more conservative, for example, regarding the typical southern British features of a trap–bath split, fronting of , and H-dropping, none of which typical American accents show. The innovation of /t/ glottaling, which does occur before a consonant (including a syllabic coronal nasal consonant, like in the words button or satin) and word-finally in General American, additionally occurs variably between vowels in British English. On the other hand, General American is more innovative than the dialects of England, or English elsewhere in the world, in a number of its own ways: The merger of /ɑ/ and /ɒ/, making father and bother rhyme. This change, known as the father–bother merger is in a transitional or completed stage nearly universally in North American English. Exceptions are in northeastern New England English, such as the Boston accent, New York accent, and Mid-Atlantic States accents, and many Southern accents, prominently including New Orleans accents. About half of all Americans merge of the vowels /ɑ/ and /ɔ/. This is the so-called cot–caught merger, where words like cot and caught are homophones. This change has occurred most firmly in eastern New England (Boston area), Greater Pittsburgh, and the whole western half of the country. For speakers who do not merge caught and cot, the lot–cloth split has taken hold. This change took place prior to the unrounding of the cot. It is the result of the lengthening and raising of the cot vowel, merging with the caught vowel in many cases before voiceless fricatives (as in cloth, off), which is also found in some varieties of British English, as well as before /ŋ/ (as in strong, long), usually in gone, often in on, and irregularly before /ɡ/ (log, hog, dog, fog). The strut vowel, rather than the lot or thought vowel, is used in the function words was, of, from, what, everybody, nobody, somebody, anybody, and, for some speakers, because and want, when stressed. Vowel mergers before intervocalic /ɹ/: The Mary–marry–merry, serious–Sirius, and hurry–furry mergers are found in most American English dialects. However, exceptions exist primarily along the east coast. Americans vary slightly in their pronunciations of R-colored vowels—such as those in /ɛəɹ/ and /ɪəɹ/—sometimes monophthongizing towards [ɛɹ] and [ɪɹ] or tensing towards [eɪɹ] and [i(ə)ɹ] respectively, causing pronunciations like [peɪɹ] for pair/pear and [piəɹ] for peer/pier. Also, /jʊər/ is often reduced to [jɚ], so that cure, pure, and mature may all end with the sound [ɚ], thus rhyming with blur and sir. The word sure is also part of this rhyming set as it is commonly pronounced [ʃɚ].

Compared with English as spoken in England, North American English is more homogeneous, and any North American accent that exhibits a majority of the most common phonological features is known as “General American.” This section mostly refers to such widespread or mainstream pronunciation features that characterize American English. Studies on historical usage of English in both the United States and the United Kingdom suggest that spoken American English did not simply deviate away from period British English, but retained certain now-archaic features contemporary British English has since lost. One of these is the rhoticity common in most American accents, because in the 17th century, when English was brought to the Americas, most English in England was also rhotic. The preservation of rhoticity has been further supported by the influences of Hiberno-English, West Country English and Scottish English. In most varieties of North American English, the sound corresponding to the letter ⟨r⟩ is a postalveolar approximant [ɹ̠] or retroflex approximant [ɻ] rather than a trill or tap (as often heard, for example, in the English accents of Scotland or India). A unique “bunched tongue” variant of the approximant r sound is also associated with the United States, and seems particularly noticeable in the Midwest and South.

Crash Course English Literature - References - Netflix