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4 Comments

  • Stan:
    The whole dialect kerfuffle is really based on class. According to the Queen’s English Society, there is really only one form of English. That cuts out 98 percent of the people who claim to speak the tongue; you and I are not excepted. In the US, where everyone knows that no such thing as class exists, if you don’t speak Standard American English, well, get to the back of the line(queue).It also comes down to a simple matter of what sounds good to you. But that subjective evaluation really depends of your native dialect. If you speak Glaswegian, does RP sound better? If you speak Jamaican, does Standard American sound better? In the end, the preference is just a matter of preference.

  • Thanks for your thoughts, Marc. I would say there’s more to dialect prejudice than class concerns. Some of it is social snobbery, for sure, but a lot of the time I think it springs from an old and generalised distrust of other tribes and cultures. And some of it is aesthetic: a particular sound we happen to dislike for no ulterior reason (similar, perhaps, to what you call “a simple matter of what sounds good to you”). There are presumably many more reasons. People have never been short of excuses to judge each other, and speech is a particularly public and convenient scapegoat.

  • a language is a dialect with a flag
    Tim: Yes, or an army! Many of the world’s languages are spoken but not written, so websites that document them, such as Ethnologue, are hugely valuable.