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Yaroslavtseva E.F. MAIN PROBLEMS AND FEATURES OF MODERN VARIANTOLOGY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE [REVIEW] / E.F. Yaroslavtseva // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2019. — № 3 (19). — С. 38—40. — URL: (дата обращения: 08.12.2021. ).
Yaroslavtseva E.F. MAIN PROBLEMS AND FEATURES OF MODERN VARIANTOLOGY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE [REVIEW] / E.F. Yaroslavtseva // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2019. — № 3 (19). — С. 38—40.


ORCIDЯрославцева Е.Ф.1
1доцент, кандидат педагогических наук, Южно-Российский государственный политехнический университет (НПИ) имени М.И. Платова, Новочеркасск, Россия
Статья посвящена комплексному исследованию основных проблем и особенностей современной вариантологии английского языка. Научная новизна исследования видится в том, что на сегодняшний день вариантология языка является одним из приоритетных направлений в языкознании и в большинстве случаев, объектом изучения этой области является именно английский язык. Целью данной работы является выявление основных подходов к определению национальных вариантов языка. Рассматриваются определения языкового сообщества и языковой ситуации. На основании социолингвистического анализа установлено, что изучение конкретного национального варианта языка отождествляется с установлением его специфики.
Ключевые слова: вариантология, вариант языка, диалект, языковое сообщество, языковая ситуация, национальный язык.
Страницы: 38 - 40

ORCIDYaroslavtseva E.F.1
1Associate professor, PhD in Pedagogy, Platov South-Russian State Polytechnic University (NPI), Novocherkassk, Russia
The article is devoted to a comprehensive study of the main problems and features of the modern versionology of the English language. The scientific novelty of research is seen in the fact that today language variantology is one of the priority directions in linguistics and in most cases, the object of studying this area is exactly English. The purpose of this work is to identify the main approaches to the definition of national language options. The definitions of the language community and language situation are considered. On the basis of sociolinguistic analysis, it has been established that the study of a specific national language variant is identified with the establishment of its specificity.
Keywords: variantology, language variant, dialect, language community, language situation, national language.
Pages: 38 - 40
Почта авторов / Author Email:


From the point of view of modern linguistic directions, variantology assumes an authoritative status. This is due to the fact that the object of research in this area  are various linguistic options: dialectal variantology, contact variantology, regional and social variantology. Language variantology is one of the priority and relatively young theories in modern linguistics, and today it is in the process of its formation.

Based on the theory of variantology, the basis of the ethnic version of the language is the language that has acquired differences due to its evolution in different situations, in different territories that are not interconnected, that is, the national version is a pronounced model of the functioning of a single language. When analyzing scientific materials on variantology, it was possible to establish that in most cases it is English that is the subject of research in this area.

Today, English is not only a means of intercultural and international communication, but also acquires dialectal and variant features and is most widely used among languages ​​throughout the world. In the last decades of the 16th century, the first and significant breakthrough was made in the development of English as one of the world languages. During this period, the contingent of English speakers averaged 6 million people, and at the same time, they all represented the inhabitants of the British Isles. However, towards the end of the 20th century, the number of speakers increased by about 50 times. Today, a significant percentage of English speakers are outside the UK.

The national language is a model of national culture. It exists in close interaction with culture and is impracticable without it, just as culture, in turn, cannot do without language. The procedure of the formation of nations and national languages ​​in different ethnic communities and in different time periods was carried out with unequal intensity and had diverse indicators. These circumstances, for the most part, were due to increased growth or disintegration of feudal relations, the structural composition of the population and relations with other states. Classically, national language models are considered its territorial and social expressions, the literary language of which is the highest model of expression of the national language and which is a distinctive national feature. Human society acquires a nation only in that situation if it in a certain territory simultaneously forms both the state form of coexistence and the literary language, which is expressed in written and oral form of communication. So, for example, the language of an ethnic group throughout the territory and in all areas of its application is not entirely one. It is characterized by specific internal differences. A relatively common literary language contradicts dialects that are distinctly different from each other. The national language has a predisposition to dialectal fragmentation, and the literary language has the nature of uniformity [4, P. 82].

A language variant is one of the ways of its existence. The study of national language modifications is the object of much attention from linguists. Along with general social and functional variation, regional modification of literary languages also causes increased attention. It should be noted that the English language is characterized by numerous modifications and their list is constantly progressing.

Today, the problem associated with the spread of the language on a global scale is a dissonance in such two concepts as internationalism and identity. The concept of internationalism is seen as the ability of a nation to look at the world as a whole and strive to shape its needs in relation to this world.Internationalism provides for mutual understanding and dictates the agreed language standard. The dynamics of the spread of the English language on a global scale raises the question of preserving the originality and originality of its main modifications. For this reason, the number of conflicts arising in the regions, trying to establish their individuality and independence, is increasing. It is important to note that the closer to the metropolis is the territorial option, the greater his desire for national and cultural originality. An example is the language situations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mastering the linguistic forms that characterize the linguistic separation between the new nation and its colonial forerunners is one of the successful results. Two circumstances contribute to this linguistic separation: 1. Close connection with other language groups. 2. Mass use of English on a global scale. At the present stage of interethnic relations, British and American versions of the English language have been studied and mastered to the greatest extent. The differences between them appeared when the first colonists came to America. It is appropriate to mention a quote from the English poet Dylan Thomas: "These two cultures are separated by a common language barrier."

In modern linguistics, American and British versions of the language have many distinctive features. Noah Webster, an American lexicographer, a linguist and compiler of the American Dictionary of English, believes that it was a crucial advantage for an independent American people to have their own system in government and in language. In a certain sense, this seemed to be a rational desire, since by that time in England “the author’s style had fallen into disrepair, and the language was at the stage of degradation”.

This desire also had practical significance, since at that time England was at a great distance in order to act as a benchmark. N. Webster believes that the emergence of this federal language was an inevitable consequence, on the grounds that when learning a new composition, many new lexemes were added to the language that were not used in Britain until that moment. The emerged differences in the American language, according to N. Webster, is the result of the country's policy [8, P. 134].

Thus, American, British, Australian and South African variants of the English language can be considered microsystems and which are included in the macrosystem of the English literary language. These microsystems intersect and form a single basis, characterized by a set of common structure-forming features, and at the same time they can be considered as units that have certain distinctive properties or a certain set of such properties.

The validity of the presence of national language variants caused disagreements among many linguists. There were quite a few opposite opinions on this score. For example, G.L. Mencken believed that the American version of the language (the definition of the scientist himself) is independent. And before the opposing judgments that American English is a dialect of the British language. Ultimately, this controversy ended in favor of recognizing the validity of identifying options, including national ones.Let us cite VN for clarity. Yartseva: "… of course, English is not uniform and probably never has been uniform. Territorial, social, professional, genre and stylistic differentiation is characteristic of any language" [6, P. 213].

Having done a great job in the study of certain modifications of some European languages, the theory of national language versions was embodied in Russian linguistics, with an initial understanding of the language as a system-structural organization. In understanding the model of national versions of the language itself, its interconnections and the peculiarities of its functioning, Soviet and Russian linguists agree on one issue, but they still have disagreements regarding individual issues. The increased attention of domestic linguists focuses on the functional conditionality of national language versions, namely, on Western European, where each version has the status of the state language in several countries.

Consider the definition of a language community and language situation proposed by A.D. Schweitzer. The language community is "grouping on the basis of the unity of the language as a means of communication" [5, P. 8]. In national linguistics, these associations are often interpreted as language groups or lingvosotsium. The language situation implies «the totality of all linguistic and extra-linguistic factors that exist simultaneously and interact with other languages as factors of its environment» [5, P. 7].  Analyzing the linguistic situation, first of all, its interaction with various linguistic and extra-linguistic circumstances is taken into account: economic, cultural, historical, demographic, geographical, social and political. The typology of linguistic situations is based on such factors as the social status of a language, its variant and dialect, namely, its position in relation to other linguistic systems and subsystems operating in a given community. The legally established official or legal status, and the actual status established by the number of speakers, their socio-demographic characteristics, the range of functional use, the presence of bilingualism or diglossia among the carriers and the appropriate correspondence of the legal status of the objective situation are also taken into account. It is necessary to emphasize that the definition of national variants of a language is based on two approaches: 1. dynamic, where in the general process of linguistic discrepancy the crucial importance belongs to the oral form of speech, and the written form of speech, despite its significant role, is on the secondary plane when modeling the variant (see the works of VG Gak, GV Stepanova); 2. static, where the decisive importance belongs to the literary, standard language (see the works of AI Domashnev, A.D. Schweitzer).


So, national variants of the language in modern linguistics are considered in the format of practical implementations of the general macrosystem of the poly-rational language. Each variant microsystem includes common properties that combine this microsystem with other microsystems, as well as specific and differential properties.

Based on the foregoing, it can be argued that the study of a specific national language variant is identified with the establishment of its specificity, i.e. the totality of its distinctive features, in accordance with which it can be considered a separate variation of a given language. The sociolinguistic approach of the national version of the language is determined by the unambiguous status of the national means of communication, which encompasses all the social functions associated with this status.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Качру Б.Б. Модели вариантов английского языка, неродного для его пользователей // Личность. Культура. Общество. Международ. журнал социальных и гуманитарных наук. М., 2010. Том XII. Вып. 1, № 53-54. - С. 175-196.
  2. Прошина 3. Г. Основные положения и спорные проблемы теории вариантности английского языка // The ABC and Controversies of World Englishes: Учеб. пособие. Хабаровск: Изд-во Дальневост. ин-та иностр. яз., 2007. - 120 c.
  3. Cмит Л. Распространение английского языка и проблемы взаимопонимания // Личность. Культура. Общество. 2010. Том XII. Вып. 2, № 55-56. - С. 229-241.
  4. Хохлова И.Н. Характеристика южноафриканского лексического компонента в современных английском и русском языках (в сопоставительно-переводческом аспекте). Дис….канд.филол.наук.-М., 2008. – С. 82.
  5. Швейцер А.Д. Литературный английский язык в США и Англии. Изд. 3-е. – М.: Изд-во ЛКИ, 2008. – 200 с.
  6. Ярцева В.Н. Развитие национального литературного английского языка / АН СССР. Ин-т языкознания. – М.: Наука, 1969. – 268 с.
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  8. Crystall D. English as a Global Language. – Cambridge University Press, 1997. – P. 134.
  9. McKay S.Teaching English as an International Language. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. - 150 p.
  10. Nelson C. L.Intelligibility in World Englishes. Theory and Application. – New York and London: Routledge, 2011. - 152 p.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Kachru B.B. Modeli variantov anglijskogo yazyka, nerodnogo dlya ego pol’zovatelej [Models of variants of the English language, non-native for its users] // Personality. Culture Society. International Journal of Social and Human Sciences. M., 2010. Volume XII. Issue 1, No. 53-54. - P. 175-196. [in Russian]
  2. Proshina Z. G. Osnovnye polozheniya i spornye problemy teorii variantnosti anglijskogo yazyka [Key points and controversial problems of the theory of variation in the English language] // The ABC and Controversies of World Englishes: Proc. allowance. Khabarovsk: Publishing House Dal’nevost. Inst. lang, 2007. - 120 p. [in Russian]
  3. Smith C. Rasprostranenie anglijskogo yazyka i problemy vzaimoponimaniya [The spread of the English language and problems of understanding] // Personality. Culture Society. 2010. Volume XII. Issue 2. No. 55-56. - P. 229-241. [in Russian]
  4. Khokhlova I.N. Harakteristika yuzhnoafrikanskogo leksicheskogo komponenta v sovremennyh anglijskom i russkom yazykah (v sopostavitel’no-perevodcheskom aspekte) [Characteristics of the South African lexical component in modern English and Russian languages (in the comparative translation aspect)]. Dis .... kand. filol. nauk.-M., 2008. - P. 82. [in Russian]
  5. Schweizer A.D. Literaturnyj anglijskij yazyk v SSHA i Anglii [Literary English in the USA and England]. Ed. 3rd - M.: Publishing House of LCI, 2008. - 200 p. [in Russian]
  6. Yartsev V.N. Razvitie nacional’nogo literaturnogo anglijskogo yazyka [Development of national literary English] / USSR Academy of Sciences.Institute of Linguistics.- M .: Science, 1969. - 268 p. [in Russian]
  7. Yartseva V.N. Istoriya anglijskogo literaturnogo yazyka IX-XV vv [The history of English literary language IX-XV centuries]. M., 1985. - 248 p. [in Russian]
  8. Crystall D. English as a Global Language. – Cambridge University Press, 1997. – P. 134.
  9. McKay S.Teaching English as an International Language. – Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. - 150 p.
  10. Nelson C. L.Intelligibility in World Englishes. Theory and Application. – New York and London: Routledge, 2011. - 152 p.

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