Standard English: The Widening Debate

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Current debates about the teaching of English in the school curriculum and more general concerns about declining standards of English are placed in a historical, social and international context. Standard English traces the notion of 'Standard English' from its roots in the practices of late seventeenth-century grammarians, through succeeding centuries to the present day; explores the definitions of 'Standard English', with particular attention paid to distinctions between spoken and written English; demonstrates that 'Standard English' is viewed very differently in the US and reveals how it is used as a marker for different forms of social discrimination, and draws on similar issues such as the English Only Movement and Ebonics; and considers the relevance of 'Standard English' in the world context. Standard English: The widening debate is an accessible, seminal work which clarifies an increasingly confused topic. It is therefore essential reading for students of English, and English in Education, and will also appeal to anyone with an active interest in the English language.
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Editorial Reviews

Language scholars from Europe and the US contribute to the debate on the grammar and correctness now raging inside and outside academia. They trace the notion from the 17th century to the present, explore the various definitions of it, demonstrate the peculiar US view of it as a class marker, and consider the relevance of the concept in the world context. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415191623
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/16/1999
  • Pages: 324
  • Lexile: 1510L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Bex is at the University of Kent. His previous publications includes Variety of Written English (1996). Richard J. Watts is at the University of Bern.

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Table of Contents

List of figures and tables
List of contributors
Introduction 1
Pt. I Perspectives on the history and ideology of 'Standard English' 13
1 The consequences of standardisation in descriptive linguistics 16
2 The social construction of Standard English: Grammar writers as a 'discourse community' 40
3 Typography, lexicography and the development of the idea of 'standard English' 69
4 Representations of English in twentieth-century Britain: Fowler, Gowers and Partridge 89
Pt. II Perspectives on the spoken language 113
5 Standard English: What it isn't 117
6 Spoken standard English 129
7 Standard grammers, spoken grammers: Some educational implications 149
Pt. III Perspectives from outside the UK 169
8 Standard English and language ideology in Britain and the United States 173
9 The names of US English: Valley girl, cowboy, yankee, normal, nasal and ignorant 207
10 Functions and forms of English in a European EFL country 239
Epilogue 269
11 Curiouser and curiouser: Falling standards in the standard English debate 271
Bibliography 283
Index 299
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