Example of an Ethnolect Based Essay

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The speech of an individual is a linguistic map of their identity and an indication of how they would like to be perceived. Migrants who come to Australia already possess the linguistic structures of their mother tongue, and these will affect the way they speak English, forming an ethnolect. Consequently, a person’s language is a clear indicator of their past ethnic origins, and the English they choose to speak will also indicate how they would like others to perceive them. This latter is true for everyone, as we all vary our language according to context.

Bill is a young Chinese student who has come to Australia two years ago from China to further his education. His lexical field is wide and varied, he is able to use complex syntactic
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Leaving verbs in their base form is a feature of many Mandarin speakers, as in Mandarin, tenses are indicated by other means…. Another syntactic feature is the plural, which is sometimes not formed as shown before. For example, ‘my family member’, ‘at those stage’, ‘a lot of country’ and ‘different background’. Such non-standard usage also pinpoints Bill’s identity as a Chinese speaker as there are no plurals for nouns in Mandarin. Bill’s word order too is sometimes non standard, especially when expressing more complex ideas. For example, ‘aging population faces in Japan’ rather than ‘Japan too faces an aging population’. All these syntactic features contribute to his identity as a young Chinese student still in the process of mastering the English language.

A subject’s attitude can also show what kind of speaker he or she would like to be perceived. For example, Bill states that he prefers the Australian accent over the Singaporean accent. This would show that he puts a high value on the Australian English and would like to be perceived as a English speaker

From this, it can be seen that many features contribute to a person’s ethnolect, and from it we can deduce the subject’s identity and the way he or she wants to be perceived. Furthermore, migrants who come to Australia know that they must learn English, as 'Nothing unites a country

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