:-) mostly -- McWhorter on "standard English"

Gordon, Matthew J. GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Thu Jan 14 18:50:02 UTC 2010

I haven't read McWhorter on the issue, but I suspect the label "artificial" refers to the origins and history of the standard variety; e.g. the fact that it has been more consciously constructed than other dialects, which have developed "naturally."

-Matt Gordon

On 1/14/10 9:11 AM, "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:

At 1/14/2010 09:42 AM, Amy West wrote:
>That's not the impression I got from sections of _Word on the
>Street_: he treats it as a dialect and recognizes that standard
>English is an artificial dialect.

[*Please* note the emoticon.]

"Artificial"?!  I think I speak (and write) "standard English", and I
don't like to be called "artificial"!  I was once called
"pretentious", or "high-falutin'", or words to that effect, on this
list.  This is even further beyond the pale.

As Jon Lighter wrote:
>Part of the difficulty is that for nonlinguists "dialect" most likely still
>means "ignorant, hard-to-understand way of talking."

If people like McWhorter continue to call standard English
"artificial",* I'll begin to adopt that attitude towards "dialects".


* [smiley off]  Why does McWhoter call standard English "artificial",
when it is presumably spoken by some speakers of English, just as
AAVE is?  Or does McWhorter believe that no-one speaks standard English?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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