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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 16 03:41:10 UTC 2010

At 9:01 PM -0500 1/15/10, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>Register?  Not nearly as clear as "dialect" =20
>>Tom Zurinskas=2C USA - CT20=2C TN3=2C NJ33=2C FL7+=20
>>see truespel.com phonetic spelling
>Perhaps not so clear, but more appropriate in this context.

Oops, sorry Robin.  I should have scrolled down in my mailer to see
that you pre-empted my response.


>"In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular
>purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, an English speaker
>may adhere more closely to prescribed grammar, pronounce words ending
>in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e.g. "walking", not
>"walkin'"), choose more formal words (e.g. train vs. choo-choo, sodium
>chloride vs. salt, child vs. kid, etc.), and refrain from using the word
>ain't when speaking in a formal setting, but the same person could violate
>all of these prescriptions in an informal setting."
>Whereas dialect:
>"The term dialect (from the Greek word _dialektos_) is used in two
>distinct ways, even by scholars of language. One usage refers to a variety
>of a language that is characteristic of a particular group of the language's
>speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a
>dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class. <...>
>The other usage refers to a language socially subordinate to a regional or
>national standard language, often historically cognate to the standard, but
>not a variety of it or in any other sense derived from it."
>They are quite distinct terms, at least in my idiolect.
>Robin Hamilton
>>>Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>Poster: Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM>
>>>Subject: Re: :-) mostly -- McWhorter on "standard English"
>>>  > Well=2C maybe we need to start putting "dialect" in after "Standard
>>>>  English". I think I might start putting "Standard American Written
>>>>  English dialect" in my composition syllabus to emphasize its
>>>>  linguistic parity with Appalachian dialects=2C Southern dialects=2C
>>>>  etc=
>>>  >
>>>>  ---Amy West
>>>I'd concur with this=2C Amy=2C but reword as "Standard American Written
>>>The wording of the syllabus description would=2C of course=2C be
>>>self-referential=2C being written in SAWER.
>>>Robin Hamilton
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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