Article published in:Letter Writing in Late Modern Europe
Edited by Marina Dossena and Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 218] 2012
► pp. 205–228
Letters in mechanically-schooled language
Theories and ideologies
Linguists normally assume print to be the only written mode and therefore describe only the Standard varieties of the minority higher classes, thereby mistaking those varieties for languages. But recently linguists in many countries began studying handwritten, Late Modern documents, particularly letters. Focusing on English letters 1800–1834, which the majority lower classes wrote in “non-Standard”, this paper examines the schemes of ideas, theories, ideologies and terminologies which linguists developed to analyse printed language, and argues that those concepts are biased towards the Standards, autonomous and in part untrue. It proposes a sociolinguistic concept – literacy – and illustrates one type of problem a new scheme must describe objectively, by discussing how class and schooling affect the use of Anglo-Saxon and Latinate words.
Published online: 16 April 2012
Cited by other publications
No author info given
Laitinen, Mikko & Anita Auer
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