An Essay on Standard English


An Essay on Standard English

An Essay on Standard English

An Essay on Standard English

An Essay on Standard English

English, as an independent language, had taken birth in the mouth of the Anglo-Saxons in fourth-century England. Basically, there were four dialects- the West Saxon dialect, Northumbrian dialect, Mercian dialect and Celtic dialect. English generally began to be spoken and written from its origin to the 12th century is called Old English, which generally meant not the other dialect but the West-Saxon dialect, because this dialect became a more popular and easy medium both for writing and speaking. It is a matter of wonder to note here that the English language which we generally call Standard English has not been descended from these dialects but it has arisen in the fifteen century out of a completely another dialect called the East Midland dialect, especially the dialect of the Metropolis London.

There are many factors and reasons that contributed much to the rise of Standard English.

The first factor refers to the endeavours that have been taken by some English Academies from time to time with a view to reform and develop the English language. Some eminent scholars like- Swift, Dryden, Spart, Evelyn, Walles and some others had proposed for that cause and as a result, many eminent grammarians composed some grammars of the English Language, among which mention may be made of Joseph Priestly’s, The Rudiment of English Grammar (1761), Robert Lowth’s, Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762) and John Ash’s Grammatical Institute. All these grammarians, through their grammar, codified the principles and reduced the English language to rule, settled disputed principles and pointed out the common error and thus improved the language, which become the basis of Modern Standard English.

The second factor in the rise of Standard English was due to the compilation and publication of Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language. It was honoured and received by the English as a great achievement. This dictionary codified, fixed and ascertained the words with their pronunciation, spelling and meaning and as a result, the English language was developed into standard form.

The third reason for the growth and rise of Standard English is the writing of the Elizabethan writers such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ben Johnson, Webster, Bacon and many others, who had written their world-famous books in a language that was something modified, refined, standard and unanimously common to all. Though there is a difference between the languages of those writers and that of our day, yet this difference is not vast but slight.

The fourth reason for the growth and spreading of Standard English is the establishment of the worldwide colonies by the English. The businessmen who communicated with their colonies were educated men and hence they talked in a modified language and from their mouth, the foreigners also learnt the same modified English language.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, broadcasting and newspapers contributed much to the spreading of Standard English. The radio and television broadcasting and writings of newspapers are written in such a language that is supposed to be common to all and hence they took the widest Standard English as their means.

Nowadays we mean by the term ‘Standard English’, a language which is much more modified, easy, simple, wide and unanimously common to all who know any dialect of English. But there have been met three forms of Standard English, such as:

(A) Received Standard English

(B) Modified Standard English and

(C) Literary Standard English

Received Standard English is the best form of the regional dialects which have been received by the natives of England. Modified Standard English is the language that is spoken by the vulgar English who have abandoned their regional dialects and have taken a common form of all dialects that arose out of the admixture of all the dialects. Literary Standard English is English that has been spread by means of literature. Though there are three classes of Standard English, yet all Standard English indicated the same thing. The difference is not vast but little.

Generally, there arises a question- of whether the Standard English language will exist as the international language in the future also. To the answer to the question, it may be doubted that still today there are some problems regarding English pronunciation, spelling and some rules of grammar which may stand as a barrier in front of it. The pronunciations of such words as – door, poor, boor, meat, ate, put, but, mood, moor etc. raise a puzzle to the readers. When a foreigner learns to pronounce the word ‘poor’ nicely he will be surprised when he will be taught that ‘door’ or ‘boor’ is pronounced differently. Moreover, there arises the same problem regarding such letters, like – a, e, ae, ea, t, s, ch etc.

Thus in the use of articles, in the use of degrees, and in the use of prepositions there is a good deal of puzzles that a foreigner cannot take up easily.

In the future, if Standard English desires to keep up its present international status, it must modify and shorten its grammatical puzzles and complication. 0 0 0

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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