Views of Standard English

This page gives access to some papers or talks on the subject of Standard English.

Peter Trudgill: Standard English: what it isn’t

  • published in Tony Bex & Richard J. Watts eds. Standard English: the widening debate. London: Routledge, 1999, 117-128.
  • revised in November 2011
  • Standard English is a dialect which is socially superior to other dialects.

Richard Hogg: The standardiz/sation of English

  • A paper presented to the Queen’s English Society in March 2000.
  • Standard English, as such, dates from the mid fifteenth century and has been constantly changing ever since in spite of the attentions of prescriptivists.

Ann Williams: Three complementary papers:

  • Discourses about English: Class, codes and identities in Britain
    • In Marilyn Martin-Jones, Anne-Marie de Mejia and Nancy Hornberger eds. Encyclopedia of Language and Education Vol 3: Discourse and Education. New York: Springer 2008, 237-250.
    • The educational consequences of continuing prejudices against non-standard dialects, with telling examples from classroom discourse.
  • Standard English and education
    • In D. Britain, Language in the British Isles (2nd edition) Cambridge University Press 2007, 401-16.
    • Includes a particularly useful history of official attitudes to non-standard dialects and the negative effects on education of marginalising non-standard dialects.
  • (with Eve Gregory) Writing inequalities: Literacy and social class in three primary schools.
    • In Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. Ethnographies of Educational and Cultural Conflicts: Strategies and Resolutions. London: Elsevier 2004, 67-81.
    • Three very different schools in England as case studies of how social class and ethnicity affects children’s ability to benefit from education.

Richard Hudson: The language teacher and descriptive versus prescriptive norms: The educational context.

  • A paper presented (in absentia) to a workshop in Paris on prescriptivism and foreign-language teaching in March 2000.
  • Standard English, unlike other standard languages, is now highly codified for non-native speakers, but not at all codified for native speakers. However codification for natives would be quite helpful for schools.