ERIC Number: ED059198
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971
Reference Count: 0
The Concept of Standard English.
Marckwardt, Albert H.
The basic scope of this document is a study of the emergence of a linguistic standard for England. It is stated that this was essentially an unconscious process, a recognition of an existing social situation, which took place during the 15th century. A differentiation is made between speech characterized as standard and that characterized as model. The former is simply a statement of fact, whereas the latter is regarded as having acquired such prestige that it is considered as essential to professional performance and to social and economic advancement. A dialect usually achieves the status of a standard before it becomes accepted as a model. This is defined as a transition from the realm of unconscious acceptance to that of conscious prescription. It is pointed out that at no period in the development of English was the linguistic standard as absolute and monolithic as is often assumed. The Londoner, living during the reign of the first Elizabeth, had certain choices not available to his twentieth-century counterpart in the time of Elizabeth II, and vice versa. Standard English, it is emphasized, can only be understood in the perspective of its long development and the forces which shaped it. Social utility was the dominant force which shaped the standard at the outset, and the language has continued to be responsive to the demands of a constantly changing social situation. (Author/CK)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: England; United States
Note: A lecture contained in The Discovery of English (Urbana: NCTE, 1971: 13-36