ERIC Number: ED231247
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar-19
Reference Count: 0
Current English Usage: Attitudes and Standards.
Seigel, Don M.
A replication was conducted of Sterling Leonard's 1932 survey of "Current English Usage," which submitted a questionnaire of expressions to judges consisting of linguists, journalists, teachers, and businessmen. It was hypothesized that more of the expressions in Leonard's study would be acceptable today (looser standards) than was the case 50 years ago. In the replication, respondents were asked to indicate whether the expressions was acceptable for writing, acceptable for speech, or not acceptable for either. The responses indicate that there has been no significant change in English language judgments or standards since the original Leonard survey. Linguists and teachers of English as a second language accepted more stylistic variation than did the other groups surveyed, especially among the "other teachers" group. English teachers seemed more concerned with matters of grammatical form and agreement than did the others. Journalists were relatively more conservative in matters of style and grammar than were those in the English teaching profession. Teachers who were not trained in or teaching language subjects appeared to be the most conservative judges of language use. Although they rejected more usage items than any of the other groups, they ignored most disputed grammatical forms and concentrated on questions of stylistic choice. It is suggested that the results provide an added argument against the current questionable practice of putting untrained teachers in the English classroom. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Leonard (Sterling)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (17th, Toronto, Ontario, March 15-20, 1983).