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The Routes of English - BBC Radio 4
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What is Spanglish?

Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Starting at Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrim Fathers landed in 1620, Melvyn Bragg follows the development of English in the American colony - from the war of Independence and the founding of the first capital, Philadelphia, right through to the controversial contemporary issues of Ebonics and the rise of Hispanic English or "Spanglish".

Melvyn meets a "first settler" at Plymouth Plantation
Plymouth, Massachusetts, is the starting point for tracing the history of English in America. It was the home of the first British settlers in 1620. The 'Plymouth Plantation' is a historical recreation of that early settlement - a 'living museum'. Scott Attwood, the programme interpreter, talks about their early existence. audio clip

Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson reflects on the linguistic and other challenges faced by the settlers,
how American English has become a melting pot absorbing words from many languages,
the loss of variety as English achieves pre-eminence in the US and the world.
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Outside Independence Hall, site of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence
Philadelphia - the Declaration of Independence is commemorated by a public reading every year, but surprisingly on the 8th July instead of the 4th of July - the declaration wasn't made public until the 8th. audio clip

Melvyn at George Washington Elementary School.
The children of George Washington Elementary School tell Melvyn Bragg that their language is American and not English. audio clip

US regions
Unlike in Britain, regional dialects have become pronounced only recently - since the middle of the twentieth century, and even then only among the white population.
There has, though, been a different development in the black population. A rich vernacular has developed without any strong regional differences.
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The late Tupac Shakur
The vibrant verbal skills of Afro-American vernacular have enriched popular culture, an example of which are the lyrics of the late Tupac Shakur - a leading hip-hop star. audio clip<

'Spanglish' is a colloquial fusion of Spanish and American English among the Hispanic communities. The pre-eminence of English in America does raise a question as to whether the Hispanic tradition can survive. Other languages, such as German, have in the end been lost in the trend towards uniformity. audio clip<

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