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An Introduction to Regional Englishes

Dialect Variation in England

Joan C Beal

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Are the dialects of England disappearing in the wake of globalisation and 'Estuary English', or are geographical differences as strong as ever? Joan Beal looks at recent research into regional variation in England, discusses the evidence for 'dialect levelling' and argues that, despite this, features of dialect are still clear markers of regional and local identity.

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1. Introduction: are regional varieties doomed?
2. Accent
3. Dialect I: 'grammar'
4. Dialect II: lexis
5. The Diffusion Model
6. Levelling
7. Regional Identity/ Communities of Practice
8. Stereotypes
9. Conclusion
10. Resources.

About the Author

Joan C. Beal is Professor of English Language at the University of Sheffield and series editor for Edinburgh University Press's Dialects of English series. Before moving to Sheffield she spent 30 years at Newcastle University as a student and later lecturer/ senior lecturer in the School of English. She was co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English and has given interviews on TV and radio and in the local and national press on the cultural importance of Geordie.Joan Beal was born in Warrington and took her BA and PhD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her teaching and research interests are in the fields of dialectology and the history of English post 1700 and she often works on the interface between these two fields. She is also interested in issues of place and identity, both with reference to language and in a broader cultural context.


This slender volume, part of the ''English Textbooks on the English Language'' series, is an excellent introduction to the field of English dialectology. Part of its appeal lies precisely in its compact size, coupled with clarity of presentation. Importantly, each chapter is concluded by a small number of appropriate exercises and suggested activities, as well as a selection of further readings, making the book very valuable for teaching and for independent study. Overall, Beal's book is a very welcome addition to the existing literature on English dialectology. It manages to be rigorous, engaging, and up to date whilst remaining user-friendly, not least because of its manageable size.
- Simone C. Bacchini, British Library, London, LINGUIST list

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