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"It is often stated that speakers of non-standard dialects and regional accents should change their speech to more prestigious forms." Discuss the various arguments, which have been put forward on both sides of this issue, using your own examples.

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Introduction

Sarah Richards 13F "It is often stated that speakers of non-standard dialects and regional accents should change their speech to more prestigious forms." Discuss the various arguments, which have been put forward on both sides of this issue, using your own examples. The issue as to whether a person should "upgrade" their accent and dialect to a more prestigious form is a current and controversial topic. However, some believe that the English language is becoming bland with an increasing loss of regional variation. Through looking at the arguments surrounding the topic, it is possible to reach an objective conclusion as well as examine all views on the subject. Firstly, it is essential to define the term prestigious; as many would argue that regional accents and non-standard dialects are prestigious forms. However, in this case it can be defined as Received Pronunciation (RP) and Standard English. This is because it provides an example, which a person is not born with but as one they learn and therefore could be applied, to anyone if they learnt it. ...read more.

Middle

The reason people think this, is because the more powerful professions and institutes, such as the BBC and the Queen, spoke Received Pronunciation and Standard English, whilst workers in the basic primary industries such as fishing, mining and farming spoke in broader accents and dialects so that the way you spoke began to portray an image of your background and education. This also leads to the argument that if somebody is able to tell your background from the way you speak, they are also able to discriminate against you for it. For example, in accent and dialect studies, cases have been examined, such as, a young girl who spoke Received Pronunciation and Standard English was able to get a paper round even though a girl who spoke in a Cockney accent was told there was no job going. Another example would be of a girl with a broad Cornish accent asking to speak French and being told she had to learn English first. ...read more.

Conclusion

This raises the question as to why a person should lose something, which is a part of them whilst also making the point that without regional variation, the English language would be bland and flavourless. It is also seen that if regional variation dies out in England, then would the other English speaking varieties also have to change and "upgrade " to more prestigious forms. For example would the Scottish or English Creole languages have to change to speak more prestigious forms? However, it can be argued that this is already happening for example, Edinburgh English versus Glaswegian English and that people are already beginning to speak with less variation. In conclusion, there are many surrounding issues when looking at the reasons to support or oppose the statement. However, when all these are outlined and examined it is possible to see that the subject is unresolved and that there are no right or wrong opinions. It also possible to see that the topics discussed are still ongoing and opinions may change in the future. ...read more.

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