By Tony Bex, Richard J. Watts
Typical English attracts jointly the best overseas students within the box, who confront the debates surrounding 'Standard English', grammar and correctness head-on.These debates are as extreme at the present time as ever and expand some distance past an instructional context. present debates in regards to the educating of English within the university curriculum and matters approximately declining criteria of English are positioned in a old, social and overseas context. ordinary English:* explores the definitions of 'Standard English', with specific consciousness to differences among spoken and written English* strains the belief of 'Standard English' from its roots within the past due 17th century via to the current day.This is an available, seminal paintings which clarifies an more and more burdened subject. It comprises contributions from: Ronald Carter, Jenny Cheshire, Tony Crowley, James Milroy, Lesley Milroy and Peter Trudgill.
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Additional resources for Standard English: The Widening Debate
A prescriptivist will condemn it as bad English and reject it, thereby implicitly condemning much of the casual spoken usage of many millions of fluent native speakers. He or she may also see it as proof that the language is declining and that people simply don’t know how to speak their own language any longer. Therefore, according to the prescriptivist, people must be prevented from speaking in this way. But any attempt at this is doomed to failure. In Samuel Johnson’s words (cited in Milroy and Milroy 1991:35): ‘to enchain syllables, and to lash the wind, are equally the undertakings of pride unwilling to measure its desires by its strength’.
Despite all this, there can be no compromise on the methodological rigour of linguistic analysis and theory. Although varieties of language are not necessarily socially equal, what the descriptive linguist is obliged to do in analysing language is to assume that all varieties are equally valid as specimens of human language, regardless of how these varieties are publicly evaluated. Although we shall see that linguists have sometimes made prejudgements that in principle they should perhaps not have made, one can find recurrent claims of this sort in the literature for well over a century.
The retrospective myth of the history of English, created to suit Victorian ideologies, certainly continues well into the twentieth century. Apart from the nationalism common to all nation states, there was an additional powerful ideological influence on nineteenth-century English: this was the movement to establish and legitimise standard English (the Queen’s English) as the language of a great empire—a world language. To cite Dean Alford: It [the Queen’s English] is, so to speak, this land’s great highway of thought and speech and seeing that the Sovereign in this realm is the person round whom all our common interests gather, the source of our civil duties and centre of our civil rights, the Queen’s English is not a meaningless phrase, but one which may serve to teach us profitable lessons with regard to our language, its use and abuse.