Sri Lankan English Literature and the Sri Lankan People 1917-2003

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Sri Lanka. Article information. Article Information Volume: 41 issue: 4, page s : First Page. Sign Out. Email required Password required Remember me Forgotten your password? Need to activate? Institutional Access does not have access to this content. Open Athens. Purchase Content 24 hours online access to download content. Subscribe to this journal. Recommend to your library.

Rent with DeepDyve. Rent Article. Your Access Options. Forgotten your password? Article available in:. Vol 41, Issue 4, Cookies Notification This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more. Tips on citation download. Sinhala, an Indo-Aryan language with strong historical roots in Sri Lanka, is spoken by 74 per cent of the Sri Lankan inhabitants while Tamil, a Dravidian language linked ethno-linguistically to the southern states of India, is spoken by 25 per cent of the population cf.

Dharmadasa : After the Portuguese and the Dutch had colonised Sri Lanka in the 16th and 17th century respectively, British forces were subsequently able to establish themselves as the single rulers of the island. Along with the introduction of Western administrative and commercial structures, the British colonists and Anglican missionaries promoted the English language in Sri Lanka from onwards cf.

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Dharmadasa : f. Goonetilleke : A methodological section section 2 will introduce the corpus data as well as the syntactic and semantic frameworks according to which the corpus data of offer will be categorised. Section 3 will outline the results of the quantitative analysis based on the categories illustrated in section 2. Section 4 explains the quantitative findings with the help of a more fine-grained semantic perspective on the data while section 5 discusses the results at hand.

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Although the present paper focuses on Sri Lankan English as a well-defined variety of English, it is essential to point out that English in Sri Lanka is characterised by a relatively high level of internal variation:. Kachru , there also exist a comparatively small group of speakers in Sri Lanka for whom English is the first or native language on the one hand and a substantial group of speakers that displays a low proficiency in English, which is a truly foreign language to them, on the other.

Although Sri Lankan English can generally be considered to be an outer-circle variety in Kachruvian terms cf. Kachru , the sociolinguistic reality is much more complex. Sri Lankan English is thus, in line with the above observation, best perceived as a variety-internal miniature version of the three Kachruvian circles cf.

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Mukherjee et al. Schneider claims that. Schneider : 5. Each of these stages is characterised by historical, political, social and linguistic factors cf. Schneider For that reason, Sri Lankan English merits an updated assessment concerning the criteria for endonormative stabilisation. With regard to history and politics, Sri Lanka is undoubtedly an independent and self-dependent country.

The criterion as to whether the settlers and the indigenous population are interwoven is not fulfilled in Sri Lanka because there are hardly any settlers left. This is illustrated by statistics showing that the Burgher population, i. Department of Census and Statistics , Sri Lanka. With regard to literary creativity, the rich collection of Sri Lankan English literature is well-documented in Goonetilleke While there is still a general lack of empirical data regarding linguistic developments and structural effects cf.

Algama Thus, from a theoretical perspective, one might conclude that Sri Lankan English is beginning to establish itself as an endonormatively stabilised variety of English. Table 1 summarises the findings just described. Table 1. Endonormative stabilisation of English in present-day Sri Lanka cf. Schneider , Yet, this is still very much open to debate since, as mentioned above, empirical and corpus-based research into Sri Lankan English has largely been neglected until now and needs to add to the relevant sociolinguistic perspectives.

Specifically, the lexis-grammar interface of Sri Lankan English has not attracted much interest so far.

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With a focus on structural features of Sri Lankan English, the present paper examines the verb-complementational profile of offer , a polysemous and syntactically variable verb, on the basis of corpus data. The present verb-complementational study investigates the ditransitive verb offer.

Although the underlying semantic structure of offer and the corresponding semantic roles are not always made entirely explicit in the surface structure, they are always implied in the concrete realisations of offer and can be described as follows. The acting entity i.

As some semantic roles tend to be left implicit in given contexts, offer can be realised in various syntactic structures, i.

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An overview of the patterns of offer and their respective passive equivalents is provided from 1 to 8a. With the type-I pattern, all the semantic roles are realised syntactically. The type-IP pattern is the passive equivalent of the type-I pattern. With the type-IP pattern, the indirect object in active voice is transformed into the passivised subject while the subject in active voice can optionally be realised as a by -agent in the passive.

The type-II pattern is also characterised by three semantic roles which are made explicit in the surface structure, but, in contrast to the type-I and the type-IP patterns, the indirect object is always realised as a prepositional phrase. With pattern III, the recipient is left implicit and only two semantic roles, i. Variations of the patterns just introduced such as imperatives or constructions with fronted objects will also be categorised according to these rather wide definitions, but such alternative realisations will not be assigned particular labels. This syntactic framework derived from Mukherjee forms the basis of the syntactic analysis of the corpus data.


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Here, the patients play a central role since they show the range of semantic meanings with which a given verb can be associated. Empirical studies prove that semantic class is a central factor as regards the choice of syntactic patterns of ditransitive verbs in inner-circle cf. Schilk The present paper examines whether or not identifiable associations of a particular meaning of offer and the preferred pattern of that meaning are stable across varieties of English. Leitner : , are taken into account. The data to be analysed stem from two groups of corpora.

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The first group consists of the ICE corpora representing the three varieties. The strength of the ICE corpora consists in the high level of representativeness due to the extensive selection of genres from which corpus texts are drawn. Mukherjee : 48 enables cross-varietal investigations with a high level of comparability due to a common corpus design and mark-up manual.

Nevertheless, it is also critical to have an awareness of the limitations of the ICE project. In order to keep the compilation of regional standard subcorpora feasible, the number of words is limited to one million for each regional variety, which implies that lexical investigations might not be as revealing as e. Furthermore, the emerging time gap between and within the subcorpora as well as diverging understandings of the text categories and the mark-up manual by the various ICE compilation teams do not facilitate the interpretation of ICE-based search results cf.

The second group of corpora consists of relatively large newspaper corpora.

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Hoffmann , two South Asian web-derived newspaper corpora were created. The methodological advantages of the newspaper corpora at hand are their size in comparison to the preliminary ICE corpora as well as their varietal purity since news reports from news agencies have been systematically removed from the respective databases.

In addition to that, the study of newspaper data in ESL contexts is particularly interesting for the observation of emerging norms in the respective varieties since newspapers, given the unavailability of dictionaries and grammars for a noticeable amount of New Englishes, may fulfil standardising functions in these varieties cf. Schilk : Still, the restriction of the corpus data to one though relatively diverse written text category and editorial interventions are certainly aspects which have to be taken into consideration with certain investigations.

From each ICE [W] corpus, an exhaustive concordance with all the realisations of offer was created while from the larger newspaper corpora, randomly selected instances of offer per newspaper corpus were obtained and analysed. Each of the concordance lines was coded according to the syntactic and the semantic frameworks described above. The results of this coding process formed the input for the quantitative data analysis. The aim of the quantitative analysis is to encounter relevant aspects of the verb-complementational profile of offer , which will then be inspected more closely.

The first step of the data analysis establishes the preferred pattern of each meaning of offer in the three varieties under scrutiny.

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