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Modern developments in English

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Although Received Pronunciation seems to be the most recognizable English accent, only small percentage of population actually uses it. It included the most influential and educated people in public life, whose speeches are usually prestigious. The leveling was no longer commonplace and a number of accents could be heard.

Cinema and television influenced British speech in quite a significant way. The cinema familiarized Britons with the American sound, which later became standard among TV personalities and pop singers. The regional speech was popularized especially by the Beatles from Liverpool.

Grammar of English also evolved. Grammar rules, as well as pronunciation has the power to change the meaning of the utterance. Some of the forms (for instance the subjunctive) have been less popular, others gain in popularity, such as the verb ?get?. Omission of some words is also acceptable in many contexts. Generally, grammar must concern more on a sentence as a logical unit rather than individual word.

In numerous cases the meaning of the words as such has changed. Although names for members of the family or numbers have remained the same and are similar in many other languages, other words (such as: deer, hound, literally etc.) has evolved into limiting the coverage or completely modifying the sense of the word.

Quite sophisticated rules of punctuation have been developed since the ninth century, but not everyone has been following them. It was mainly a matter of common sense. Punctuation has been simplified dramatically and many rules have been dropped. Even the sentences tend to be shorter than they used to before hundreds of years and some punctuation marks are no longer used so frequently. Still the problematic case is the use of apostrophe ? many institutions dropped it for good, whereas schools insist on teaching its use.

(based on D. Taitt: "The Shaping of English". Progress, Kraków 1996)

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