ERIC Number: ED126710
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974
Reactions to Written Non-Standard English: Toward a Formal Description of the Written Code of Non-Standard English.
Baron, Dennis E.
This study investigates the extent to which nonstandard forms of written English create for readers stereotypes of the writer's personality. To determine the extent to which nonstandard writing is apparent to speakers of standard and nonstandard English, and to what extent such writing represents a socioeconomic liability for the writer, two questionnaires were devised. Respondents were first asked to rate a series of short passages on a common theme against a checklist of traits designed to reveal their idea of each writer's personality, family background, educational level, ability to use language, and potential for success. The second questionnaire used the same checklist, but the texts were not controlled for theme. The stereotypical profiles resulting from the analysis of responses show that language standardization does not necessarily correlate with favorable ratings. Passages rated best in terms of standard composition categories are not necessarily rated well in traits indicating their personal appeal to the audience. The presence of syntactic or dictional complexity seems to suggest to many respondents the presence of standard forms, although such complexities are often nonstandard. Problems in mastering the conventions of the written standard code and the resulting breakdowns in communication between author and reader were examined. (Author/CLK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the American Dialect Society (Northeast) Regional Meeting (Pennsylvania State University, 1974)