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Grassroots prescriptivism: An analysis of individual speakers’ efforts at maintaining the standard language ideology

  • Morana Lukač

People engage in discussions on which linguistic items are ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ on a daily basis. They do so in private conversations, but also publicly by way of telephone calls to radio stations, letters to newspapers and, since the dawn of the participatory internet, on social media platforms, such as blogs, microblogs (i.e. Twitter), forums and Facebook. Conspicuously, however, in linguists’ theoretical models of language standardisation, speakers have traditionally been marginalised as passive followers of the norms established by language authorities. The types of discussions mentioned are viewed as having no impact on actual usage or on what it is that constitutes the standard variety, while standard language norms are, according to such accounts, enforced by language experts, codifiers and ‘model speakers [such as journalists and newsreaders] and authors’ (Ammon, 2015: 65).

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English Today
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