Notes On The English Language

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Portfolio Element 3: Critiquing prescriptivism Within the English language many different variations occur due to regional accents and dialects. It has been suggested that ‘speech differences are not only idiosyncratic but also indicative of belonging to different social groups’. Therefore, prescriptive ideologies occur discussing whether some accents hold a precedent over others. A prescriptive ideal is ‘an approach to the study of language which prescribes how language should be used’. Appendix A, ‘Brummie accents ‘worse than staying silent’ study shows; those who speak in a Birmingham accent were viewed less intelligent than those who stayed silent according to a study’ suggests a prescriptive ideal about regional accents. Using the work from this semester, this portfolio will be exploring whether a prescriptive approach to accents is something that should be encouraged and whether the accent we have does impact the way people perceive us. The article ‘Brummie accents’ suggests a prescriptive opinion about those who have a Birmingham accent. ‘It has long been said that silence is golden. And if you have a Brummie accent, that old adage may prove to be true’ suggesting that in order to succeed or even be taken seriously those with a Birmingham accent should remain silent or at least refrain from talking often. Critics have debated with accents and the social prestige that follows them for many years. It has been suggested that ‘Birmingham English, Black County English
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