• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss "It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him."

Extracts from this document...


The term "Englishman" generally refers to the people who live in England, a country part of the United Kingdom. All Englishmen communicate with one common language, which is English. However, one Englishman may use a type of English language that is different from the type of English language used by another Englishman. The types or varieties of English language differ by features of grammar, vocabulary and phonology and this is known as dialect. The pronunciation, otherwise known as accent, of the different varieties of English is also prevalent. In the past, in England, any accent which differs from Received Pronunciation (RP), the variety of English used by the Queen and British Broadcast Corporation (BBC), is considered inferior. According to "An English accent" video clip, RP is associated to upper class, prestige and privilege. RP is taught in schools especially prestigious schools. Therefore, if an Englishman speaks without the RP accent, he may be despised by another Englishman because it means that he is not from the upper class or is not very educated. In recent years, RP is not widely used. Post-modernity has lead to people, especially young people, having less conformity to standards and being anti-institutions. Hence, few young people use RP in today's time. ...read more.


The category of social class is said to be rather broad and vague because it includes a range of different people. Labov's New York City findings also suggest that it was the lower-middle-class women who were the main influence of the /r/ pronunciation in their community. Labov (1968) argued that these women were particularly conscious of the prestige value of /r/ and that they worked hardest to assimilate upper-middle-class speech. Trudgill (1983) highlighted that the single most consistent finding to emerge from sociolinguistic work in the past two decades is that in every social class, men use more non-standard forms than women. It has been suggested that men use more non standard forms as it presented a more masculine, tough and rebellious image. Women tend to conform more to social norms and model acceptable behavior and are more status conscious than men (Graddol, Leith, Swann, Rhys & Gillen). Women probably want to belong into the upper class so that they may marry to a man of the upper class and live in luxury instead of being in the lower class group and despised by others for all her life. Therefore, they conform more to the acceptable dialect and accent of the upper class group. ...read more.


It is due to the pressure to conform to their peers and a new dialect has formed altogether. Older people have fewer tendencies to change their dialect or accent and this may be because they do not want to lose their national identity. Therefore, in the Milton Keynes context, an elderly person from Buckinghamshire, may despise a teenager whose parents came from Buckinghamshire because the teenager is speaking in a new dialect and accent and to this elderly person, the teenager has loses his Buckinghamshire identity. There are simply too many dialects in England herself since each town seems to have their own distinct dialect. People associate certain dialect and accent like the RP to prestige and power. Women have more tendencies to conform to the language of prestige while adolescents do not like to conform to the accepted dialect and make changes to it. Certain ethnic language may be threatened by Standard English since Standard English is the language most sought after. In conclusion, I have proven Shaw's statement, "It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him." to be true and valid because there are many dialects and accents in England and some people, based on their class, gender, ethnicity and age, may have prejudices and biasness to a certain dialect and accent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Argumentative or Persuasive Essays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Argumentative or Persuasive Essays essays

  1. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both the Prescriptive and Descriptive approaches to language. ...

    Besides, it is quite difficult to make all the people follow the requirements of the prescriptive method. For example, the prescriptive approach requires usage of the past subjunctive after the word "if" (for example: if I were you), but it would be quite a challenge to make everyone speak correct

  2. Critically Assess The Argument That Pornography Is Harmful To Women.

    Compare this also to the countless numbers of 'page three girls' in Britain who used their topless modelling career to catapult themselves into highly paid media positions where they are regarded as well-respected celebrities within mainstream culture. These are all women that would argue against the theory that pornography is

  1. Describe and discuss the geographical, social and contextual factors which influence the way you ...

    'a' in words like 'man' or /m?n/ and also smash or /sm??/. However, I have found that I would not use these in either formal situations or with people I don't know. Trudgill explains this by stating that 'No one uses the same kind of English when they are taking

  2. A sociolinguistic study on Singaporean teenagers use of language on Facebook a ...

    1.3 Research framework While the overall focus of the research is on the variety of language which can be characterised to contain both features of CMC as well as the reflecting the original SgE spoken by the users of the social networking platform, emphasis will also be given on the

  1. The emergence of different varieties of English worldwide has been one of the most ...

    Subjection is regarded as the small number of colonial settlements staying in the pre-colonial population, approving some of them access to learning English. Replacement is referred to the situation that a pre-colonial population was replaced by new workers or labors from elsewhere, especially West Africa.

  2. What is discourse analysis? Discuss with reference to multidisciplinarity and a selection of relevant ...

    The study of language characteristics within different communities and different social classes of any community are also of considerable interest in the study of discourse. Benjamin Whorf is quoted as stating ?We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language.

  1. Bruner and Wittgenstein: Language Learning

    He himself is here subject to striking rock-bottom; his own pragmatic grammatical study is often only the showing of a particular grammatical position, that is, a position on linguistic usage. His claims on early language learning must be considered in light of this methodological dictum.

  2. The Power of Naming- Place Names in England

    The form is willed, not arbitrary; the name is transparent through societal associations?. The Norman Invasion of 1066 offers an example of this linguistic will in action. When Edward the Confessor passed away in 1066, he died with the succession to the throne of England in disarray (Hudson 2011, para.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work