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A cultural situation may determine the use of a specific kind of language that is produced observing certain rules : a linguistic event, then, takes place, governed by rules of lin-. These texts, put forward by British English or English, in the American way speakers and English American speakers correspond to common patterns of sense-making in discourse3. During the last quarter of the XVIIIth century, in the name of independence, the American people claimed an official of their national sentiments and republican opinions, a claim either openly affirmed or suggested between the lines of written texts that were not only received by addresses in the immediate environment, but were available to the British audience as well.

This paper aims at contrasting ways of making sense of the social world within the pattern of social interaction in a communication situation, where British and Americans take up roles and exchange meanings, as well at that of accounting for linguistic disagreements in terms of disagreements about the realization of a socio-semiotic system, namely the cultural system5.

At the dawn of American literature a literary situation is created in letter form as a preamble to a series of letters written by an American farmer to an enlightened Englisman across the ocean6. The three characters — Mr St. John, his wife and the Minister — argue on the epistolary genre in ethnographic terms by discussing the socio-cultural characteristics of addresser and participants 7, the turn-taking dimension in correspondence 8, the proprieties that should be observed rules for interaction 9, the goals and intentions of the participants purpose or function 10, and, finally, the nature of the code to be used message form n.

It is the American farmer's wife — the progenitrix of the American. It is then up to the Minister to seal and formalize the farmer's decision to establish a channel of between America and Europe, accepting the challenge of the interaction. A British reviewer, in discussing the book, its mediating role in the state of grievous dispute between England and America, but is more concerned with its sociopolitical function than with the sociolinguistic one :.

Mr St. John cannot be unacquainted with the steps which were taken by his majesty, and the other branches of the British for restoring peace to the colonies. Happy for both countries had America listened to the proffered terms of which we hope, however, will soon be renewed, and will now be embraced with equal ardor by our American brethren. Nor can any efforts of private individuals contribute more effectually to that end, than such Letters as the present, which mix conciliatory with ingenious observation, and tend, by the displays of congenial sentiments, to abate the animosity of contest CR, 53, : The cultural meaning of the work is adjusted to the contingent situation.

On July 4, the Declaration of Independence is formally and published. The document is a conventional act — as a matter of fact independence has already been voted two days — but it is also a number of different speech-acts : an act of justification offered for separation from Great Britain, an of the right to the revolution, a declaration of the purpose of a state, an act of indictment of the king and an act of renouncing ties with the mother-country The result is, as to the violation of the rules of the code :. The meaning of these words [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] the Congress appears not at all to understand [ They [ In pragmatic terms, the English writer fails to be cooperative, because he does not take into account the cultural discursive space in which the linguistic options are made and fails to acknowledge the ideological means of production In other words, he denies the document its function.

A series of letters to the editor of The Gentleman's Magazine were published as a follow-up exchange on the Declaration debate : pro- British letters signed Patrio Mastix and pro-American letters signed Philander. Philander, in rejecting the Englishman's rebuke, pins down the pragmatic implications of the equalitarian principle expressed by the American people :. He would prove, if he could, that men are not created equal : and enquires, is it in size But I asked , whoever affirmed they were?

Nevertheless, as, originally, any one man had much right to reign and rule over another man, as that other man had to rule and reign over him, it is certainly in this sense [the sense of the declaration] a self-evident TRUTH that all men are created equal; though this gentleman has the modesty to pronounce it a self-evident FALSEHOOD GM, 16, : The contest of words between the two worlds was exacerbated by the rise of republicanism, traditionally associated with subversive ideas in politics, entailing rebellion and anarchy. In the same year Exshaw's Magazine published extracts from the Brithish publication Americans against Liberty, where republicanism is analysed in terms of speaking and acting against reason.

After observing that :. British freedom then is a freedom of law, a constitutional a freedom of acting and speaking what is right, a freedom founded in reason, happiness and security.

"The Anglo-American Tradition of Liberty - a view from Europe", João Carlos Espada

All licentious freedom, called by whatever specious name, is a savage principle of and doing what a depraved individual thinks fit, without regard to the convenience of others, or the welfare of the world Ex M, 46, : From this it is clear that we are dealing with a nonhomogeneous social world, where ideological differences are reflected in language. In the years that followed the war with Britain the literature produced in the United States was generally looked upon by the British with contempt, haughtiness or, at best, patronizingly.

One text, in particular, elicited responses in British journals, T. Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, first published in America in , but printed overseas only in EM, 12, The reviewer of The Scot's Magazine, instead, even though more benevolent, does not refrain from denying Jefferson the ability to make an act of prophesy. To his prediction concerning Great Britain,.

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The sun of her glory is fast descending to the horizon. Her has crossed the channel, her freedom the Atlantic, and herself seems passing to that awful dissolution whose issue is not given human foresight to scan SM, 49, : Be it known to him, and to his countrymen — be it known to the world — that the sun of Great Britain's glory, far from to the horizon, was never more resplendent than at the present moment ibidem. An ironically-framed comment on the usage of the language, was not spared the American statesman :.

EM, 12, : In both comments it is the British adoption of a role of superiority that, in hitting modes of communication, hits the political sphere and involves an attack upon democracy, in one case disguised behind the yet honestly launched attack on the neologism. Independence, republicanism, democracy entail the question of freedom; and the question of freedom provides correlations between the political and the linguistic domain.

Let us see how this works for the reception of Tom Paine's Rights of Man, which, published in in England, fostered ideas of radicalism in America. It would probably have caused some embarrassment to the British to accuse Tom Paine of ignoring the meaning of words t since he was English by birth. The way in which Rights of Man was reviewed by British magazines, as well as the fact that some of them preferred to ignore Paine's publications altogether, can throw some light on the status of Anglo-American relationships in that period as well as on the debate about the American language.

In speaking of Paine's physical appearance, he wrote :. We everywhere trace the same features and the same manners; the same strong, but hard and coarse the same bold and daring front; the same awkward and desultory gait; the same whimsical and burlesque attitudes [ The construction is still very harsh, rude and inelegant; and many of the words and phrases are such as have not been used by anybody before, and such as we would not advise to use again ibidem.

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Here parts of the body seem related to features of speech : the and coarseness to harshness in language, the bold and daring front to the audacity of neologisms, the disconnectedness in walking to the features of colloquial speech, the capriciousness of attitudes to the mock-quality of the vernacular speech. He was, paradoxically, an English writer, as well as one of those who made the American Revolution. However, if we were to transfer such remarks to the ideological level, we would find them in keeping with the prejudice that, in Britain, would affect Tom Paine's revolutionary, republican, anti-monarchist ideas.

When Dissertations on the English Language was imported by Dilly to England a few years after it had appeared in America, the work, first published in , was somewhat outdated, but the of The Monthly Magazine felt he had to pass judgement on the work besides announcing it. One might expect that the review of a work which claims independence of the language from the despotism of Bristish En- lish to parallel the political independence of the United States, should merit some evaluative comment on its patriotic implications.

This is the opening of the review :. We are here presented with the opinions and arguments of an American grammarian, who, having studied his subject with great care and attention, offers his observations for the general improvement of readers and writers. The authors have laboured to prove what is obviously absurd, viz. After the quotation from Webster, the reviewer, by a metalinguistic turn, exploits a speech situation to talk about a new speech He, in fact, claims a failure of the American grammarian's intentions and interprets Webster's speech-act as an unwanted goal :.

This is a severe charge; but, in endeavouring to establish it, the dissertator has only convinced us that he is imperfectly acquainted with the subject which he pretends to discuss CR, 21, : The Scot's Magazine, which deeply respected the opinions of personalities — very much britannicized, though still distinctly American — such as Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, had printed, in , the letter of acknowledgement written by Franklin to thank Noah Wobster for dedicating Dissertations to him SM, 54, : Referring to the universality achieved by the French language, Franklin pointed out the advantages, in terms of and dissemination of knowledge, that its diffusion was bringing to the nation and auspicated the progression of English as second universal language.

From his practical perspective, he considered that it depended on policies of book-selling commerce and printing practices besides a deeper and more careful consideration of it in education. While American projects for substituting Hebrew for English were only taken half-seriously 21, the opinion that a Society for the improvement of the English language should be fostered was shared by people on both sides of the Atlantic.

In a letter to the editor, the need for an improvment of English is manifested by a. Such centralization was necessary because local autonomy might result in support for efforts to join the United States. These conditions contributed to a greater sense of respect for law and authority elitism north of the border than was prevalent south of the border. Canada never glorified the frontiersman and his tendencies toward rebellion and independence; the bard of egalitarian populism, Walt Whitman , who was popular in America and Australia , was not popular in Canada Bissell , pp.

Significant differences in the religious development of Canada and the United States are also evident. Both societies have had their innovating sectarian movements, but in Canada the sects have been more prone to align themselves with traditional institutions and more ready to emulate the style of the established churches Clark , pp.

New religious movements in Canada have generally failed to increase achievement orientation significantly. In the United States the ascetic Protestant sects dominated the nation by the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century and successfully institutionalized their values, which fostered hard work, savings, and investment. Thus, while Canadian frontier conditions were often just as destructive of traditional social relations as were those of the American frontier, the predominance of Anglican and French Catholic religious values, which sustained elitism and particularism, helped prevent the excessive individualism self-orientation and egalitarianism inherent in frontier communities.

Although the British hoped to develop Australia as a society of small, independent farmers, farming proved difficult in the poor soil and arid climate. Holdings of large pasture lands by individual owners operating with hired hands made Australia a business world where exploration of land by subsistence farmers was unknown. The major port cities of the six Australian colonies became heavily populated, and the urban workers formed the front of the democratic movement.

Structurally, Australian society has the lower strata of the British Isles without the upper strata. It has always reflected working-class values—egalitarianism, antielitism, and particularism group consciousness. The working-class solidarity and the corresponding set of value orientations imported from Britain were reinforced by the social structure of the Australian frontier.

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This mateship philosophy supports egalitarian values in Australia and, according to some, is responsible for thwarting the development of strong achievement orientations Goodrich , pp. The rapid growth of higher education in Australia suggests that the Australians may be losing their disdain for achievement, but the value system apparently still emphasizes a commitment to egalitarian social relations beyond that found in other complex societies. The two major denominations are Anglican Denominations of Arminian and Calvinist origin are relatively small. The available data indicate, however, that the adherents of the latter groups tend to have been more successful achievers than those of the former.

A question remains as to how much the weakness of the historic sects retarded the development of a hard-work-oriented ascetic Protestant ethic. If many of the differences between the United States and Canada may be related to the fact that one is the outgrowth of a successful democratic revolution and the other of its defeat, some of the differences between the two British Commonwealth nations, Canada and Australia, may also be tied to different political origins.

Unlike Canada, Australia did not emerge from a vanquished democratic revolution and has no history of defeated nineteenth-century reformist movements. Canadian unification in is associated with the Conservative party, whereas the federation of Australia around the turn of the century was pressed in most states by the Labor party.

In a certain sense some of the persisting differences in outlook between Canada and Australia may be seen as reflecting the need of each country to dissociate itself from the major power that has had the most direct cultural and economic influence on it. Not only have Canadians found it necessary to protect themselves against American expansion, they have also found it necessary to emphasize why they are not and should not become Americans; they have done so by disparaging various elements in American life, mainly those that are seemingly an outgrowth of mass democracy and an excessive emphasis on equalitarianism.

Australian nationalism, in contrast, inspired efforts to dissociate Australia from Britain, first politically and later in terms of social values. Britain was perceived antagonistically as the stronghold of rigid inequality. Thus, where Canada justified a more elitist attitude in reaction to American equalitarianism, Australia emulated various American equalitarian patterns in reaction to British elitism.

The oldest of the Anglo-American societies, Britain clearly differs from the other three countries in having a visible resident monarchy which even today retains considerable social influence over the populace. Even socialist leaders, such as Clement Attlee and Herbert Morrison, accept aristocratic titles as great honors, a phenomenon that occurs in no other country in the world. The characterization of British society as elitist and ascriptive with diffuseness and collectivity orientations is supported by institutionalized religion, which still performs a role of social integration.

England, unlike the other three Anglo-American societies, does not sanction the split between church and state. The Church of England remains an Established church. In England the prime minister appoints the bishops; other ecclesiastics are also appointed by secular officials. In fact, the archbishops and 26 senior bishops sit in the House of Lords. The Prayer Book, which is the approved liturgical form of worship, is subject to the approval of Parliament, and an attempt to revise the Prayer Book in was rejected by the House of Commons Richmond , p. The traditional upper classes and their institutions—the public schools, the ancient universities, and the titled aristocracy—remain at the summit of the social structure Crosland [] , pp.

There is probably more disposition to accept class distinctions as permanent, and even to accept the upper classes as natural leaders, than survives in most countries. Although elitist, ascriptive, particularistic, and collectivity-oriented values do persist in British society, Britain has been moving much closer to the opposite set of orientations. Industrialization, urbanization, and political democratization have all spurred the growth of universalistic and achievement-oriented values.

But relative to the other English-speaking countries Britain still retains many of its preindustrial value orientations, which are sustained through their identification with the top of the social hierarchy. Thus, in the nineteenth century the British business classes rejected the noblesse oblige collectivity-orientation characteristic of the aristocracy: they denied responsibility for the poor and, instead, justified their claim to authority over the poor on the basis of their ownership of productive machinery Bendix , p.

However, within a relatively short period of time, the spokesmen for the new entrepreneurial classes imitated the old aristocracy by formulating an ideology that affirmed their responsibility for the workers and the lower classes generally and claimed that the duty was being performed Bendix , pp. The British upper classes, unlike most Continental aristocracies, sustained their social prestige and influence by strong resistance to the claims of the new business classes, and later of the workers, to participate in politics.