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Encyclopedia > Standard English

Standard English is a nebulous term generally used to denote a form of the English language that is thought to be normative for educated users. There are no set rules or vocabulary for any putative "Standard English" because, unlike languages such as French, Italian, Spanish or Dutch, English does not have a governing body (see Académie française, Accademia della crusca, Real Academia Española, Nederlandse Taalunie) to establish usage. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Académie française In the French educational system an académie LAcadémie française, or the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. ... The Real Academia Española (Spanish for Royal Spanish Academy, RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. ... The Nederlandse Taalunie or Dutch Language Union is an institution for discussing issues on the Dutch language between three partners: The Netherlands, Flanders (Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) and Suriname. ...


Definitions and controversy

Moreover, many contend[weasel words] that one should rather speak of "standard Englishes", or "standard English dialects", given that there are large, distinct English language communities with distinct standards.

Another complication is that English has become the most widely used second language in the world and it is subject to the most alteration by non-native speakers. Numerous "non-native dialects" are developing their own standards -- those, for example, of English language publications published in countries where English is generally learned as a foreign language.

According to Peter Trudgill, "Standard English is that set of grammatical and lexical forms which is typically used in speech and writing by educated native speakers. It includes the use of colloquial and slang vocabulary, as well as swear words and taboo expressions." This definition is also often given by American linguists. Most linguists recognise that the notion of a standard English that covers all native speakers, educated or not, would be very difficult to articulate. Professor Peter Trudgill (pronounced [ˈtɹʌd. ...

This definition refers to grammar and vocabulary and not to pronunciation. Trudgill claims that Standard English is only spoken by a very small part of the population of the British Isles (about 12-15%). This means it is spoken by an even smaller fraction of all native speakers. Further, Standard English speakers often speak in regional and class accents. One might expect that Standard English speakers would use a particular pronunciation, for example Received Pronunciation (RP) in the UK, or General American in the US. In fact, only a third of the speakers of UK Standard English have an RP accent, with the rest of the speakers using their own regional accents, which shows that standard dialect and regional accent do not exclude each other. In the US, regional variations in pronunciation are smaller; thus there is a great tendency of Americans to speak in General American. Trudgill concludes in this matter, that "Standard English is a dialect that differs from the others in that it has greater prestige, does not have an associated accent and does not form part of a dialect continuum". Hence, Standard English is purely a social dialect. Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... A dialect continuum is a range of dialects spoken across a large geographical area, differing only slightly between areas that are geographically close, and gradually decreasing in mutual intelligibility as the distances become greater. ...

The two most commonly recognised varieties of English are British English and American English. However, notwithstanding the various historical migrations of English-speaking populations, colonisation and the effects of local native languages on the creation of creoles or pidgins, English has risen to the status of a global lingua franca, primarily due to its predominant use as the international language of trade and commerce, and its widespread use outside exclusively English-speaking countries has accounted for the development of many local varieties of English. British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable language that originated from a non-trivial combination of two or more languages, typically with many features that are not inherited from any parent. ... A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups who do not share a common language, in situations such as trade. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ...

See also

International English is the concept of the English language as a global means of communication in numerous dialects, and the movement towards an international standard for the language. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Note: this article may be of particular interest to non-native users of English. ... This is one of a series of articles about the differences between American English and British English, which, for the purposes of these articles, are defined as follows: American English (AmE) is the form of English used in the United States. ...


  • Bex, Tony; Richard J. Watts (1999). Standard English: The widening debate. Routledge. ISBN 0415191629. 
  • Coulmas, Florian; Richard J. Watts (2006). Sociolinguistics: The study of speaker's choices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521836069. 
  • Crystal, David (2006). The Fight for English: How language pundits ate, shot and left. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019920764X. 
  • Gramley, Stephan; Kurt-Michael Pätzold (2004). A survey of Modern English. London: Routledg. ISBN 0415049571. 
  • Hudson, Richard A. (1996). Sociolinguistics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521565146. 

External links

  Results from FactBites:
American English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1863 words)
American English has both spelling and grammatical differences from English as used elsewhere (especially British English), some of which were made as part of an attempt to rationalize the spelling used in Britain at the time.
English words that arose in the U.S. A number of words that arose in the United States have become common, to varying degrees, in English as it is spoken internationally.
English words obsolete outside the U.S. A number of words that originated in the English of the British Isles are still in everyday use in North America, but are no longer used in most varieties of British English.
Standard English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (209 words)
Standard English is a general term for a form of written and spoken English that is considered the model for educated people by native English speakers.
There are no set rules or vocabulary for "Standard English" because, unlike languages such as French or Dutch, English does not have a governing body (see Académie française, Dutch Language Union) to establish usage.
Standard English is a language, not an accent; that is, it refers to a set of words, grammar, and linguistic sounds, not to a particular pronunciation.
  More results at FactBites »



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