Standard US English Dialect?

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Mon Apr 14 15:44:33 UTC 2008

Yes, DC always does surprisingly well, but the East Coaster the South
is the better it does as well. SC higher than GA, GA higher than AL,
etc....We actually have some qualitative evidence for this; some of
the fieldworkers asked respondents why they ranked the DC area so
high, and many said that they figured good English was spoke in the
capital. This seemed truer of southern and south midland respondents
than of northern ones (who know they speak the best English).


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       David Bowie <db.list at PMPKN.NET>
>Subject:      Re: Standard US English Dialect?
>From:    Dennis Preston <preston at MSU.EDU>
>>  Poster:       LanDi Liu <strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM>
>>  <snip>
>>>  As far as NYC middle class goes, that means very little as far as
>>>  accents go.  Because of the large amount of people that live in NYC
>>>  that weren't born there, and the fact that different boroughs in NYC
>>>  have different accents to begin with, and the fact that class and
>>>  accent aren't so easily correlated anymore, I don't think anyone could
>>>  say what a NYC middle class accent is.  So probably the people in
>>>  Japan and China (and elsewhere) think capital = standard.  Most people
>>>  think Beijing Chinese is standard, but that's a myth as well.
>>  Washington DC is the capital of the US, not NYC.
>And of course, in dInIs's own work (see "Where the worst English is
>spoken"), you find that Washington DC does remarkably well in US folks'
>ratings for correctness--so maybe this capital==standard (or at least
>nearly standard) thing works in the US, as well.
>David, who grew up near enough to DC to disbelieve that NYC's really as
>important a city as it seems to believe
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list