chapter  3
16 Pages

“Bad English” in inner-circle settings

WithElizabeth Peterson

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The general premise of the piece is nothing unusual, which is precisely what makes it a useful artifact for investigation. Young women carry out an immense role when it comes to language attitudes and also language change. Young women, including teenage girls, are routinely blamed and discredited for their use of language in many different settings, not just English-speaking. Although author of the Guardian piece does not specifically mention social class, it would be an oversight to dismiss the role of class in the author’s complaints. The logic employed seems to be that there can only be one “right” way of using the language, and that is the accepted standard. Anything that deviates from that supposed standard is perceived as being wrong. Due to a general lack of comfort with variation, there is only one version that can be “right.”