Making Sense of "Bad English": An Introduction to Language Attitudes and Ideologies

1st Edition

Elizabeth Peterson

October 18, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 200 Pages - 15 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138237476 - CAT# Y310275

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Why is it that some ways of using English are considered "good" and others considered "bad"? Why are certain forms of language termed elegant, eloquent or refined, whereas others are deemed uneducated, coarse, or inappropriate? Making Sense of "Bad English" is an accessible introduction to attitudes and ideologies towards the use of English in different settings around the world. Outlining how perceptions about what constitutes "good" and "bad" English have been shaped, this book shows how these principles are based on social factors rather than linguistic issues and highlights some of the real-life consequences of these attitudes.

Features include:

  • an overview of attitudes towards English and how they came about, as well as real-life consequences and benefits of using "bad" English;
  • explicit links between different English language systems, including child’s English, English as a Lingua Franca, African American English, Singlish and New Delhi English;
  • examples taken from classic names in the field, including Labov, Trudgill, Baugh and Lambert, as well as rising stars and more recent cutting-edge research;
  • links to relevant social parallels, including known elements of cultural outputs such as holiday myths, to help readers engage in a new way with the notion of Standard English;
  • supporting online material for students which features worksheets, links to audio and news files, sample answers to discussion questions and further background on key issues from the book.

Making Sense of "Bad English" provides an engaging and thought-provoking overview of this topic and is essential reading for any student studying sociolinguistics within a global setting.


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