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Bustean Nicoleta Alina

MASTER, anul II, sem. I

Features of Standard VS Non-Standard English.

Non-standard English

Non-standard English, also written as nonstandard English, refers to use of English,

especially regarding grammar, but also including other aspects of language, that is considered by
convention to be sub-standard or not "proper".
That, however, does not mean it is not or cannot be used. Everybody, even the most
punctilious language pundit out there, will at some moment of the day or his/her life "slip" into
non-standard English, depending on context and company. In fact, the vast majority of the
English language which we use today would certainly have been considered non-standard or
incorrect at some point during the evolution of the language, and, to the horror of today's purists,
today's non-standard may well become the Queen's English of tomorrow.
Examples of non-standard British English

Register and "unrecognised" contractions


Examples of non-standard British English

The verb "to be" is the most complex in English, but some non-standard usages seem to be
attempting to regularise it:

we was is used in place of "we were". Especially by footballers, as in "we was

if I was you is used in place of "If I were you".

Then there is the question of register and unrecognised contractions. While some
contractions such as "isn't" are recognised and acceptable in speech and informal written

registers, others are acceptable in speech but frowned on in all written forms of the language,
some include:
gonna for (be) going to
wanna for want to
gotta for have (got) to
One form of non-standard language is slang. It is especially common in pop, rock, jazz and
rap music, as well as in films, all of which tend to have international audiences, and many
foreign speakers who have learnt more formal registers are sometimes surprised when they hear
expressions like: I gotta go! (I have to go now). In certain regions, certain dialects may have
this non-standard language incorporated into normal speech.
Cmon! = Come on!
cop = policeman
cos = because
cuppa = cup of tea
dont = doesnt He dont love me.
dunno = don't know
ma = my
OK = all right
outta = out of Get outta here!
sorta = sort of (first recorded in the OED in 1790[1])
Yall = all of you
yeah = yes

wot = what (first recorded in the OED in 1829[1])

wotcha = What are you ...? Wotcha gonna do when you get there?
It is also quite common to hear or see words finishing in -ing in which the final g is
substituted by an apostrophe. Examples include the upper class expression huntin', shootin' and
fishin', and the lyrics of pop and rock songs: cryin drivin dyin livin lyin rockin
singin sittin talkin walkin etc.

Jargon is the common vocabulary used by specific professions or groups of people within
those professions. It can be similar to slang or it can be highly technical: legal jargon; medical
jargon; police jargon;

Standard English

Different people are orienting, more or less consciously, to different norms: either those of
Standard English, corresponding quite closely to the written language, or those of speech,
incorporating both informal and dialectal features.
Standard English is a dialect a description of it that goes against most lay understandings.
For lay speakers, and for many linguists, a dialect is a subset of a language, usually with a
geographical restriction on its distribution. Some commentators claim that non-standard dialects
lackcommunicative functionality, while others oppose this idea, saying that, outside most
institutional contexts, they are, in fact, more functional than standard varieties.
A number of linguists have argued strongly that Standard English is easily defined and
delimited: it shares its grammar with the vast majority of Standard English varieties world-wide,
differing from them in a small number of minor grammatical features. Its vocabulary is less
fixed, though it avoids regional, traditional words.

While it is the only form of English used in writing, it is also used in speech, and has
native speakers throughout the world.
Standard English features include:
1. Standard English does not distinguish between the forms of the auxiliary do and
its main verb forms. Non-standard varieties normally include the forms I done it
(main verb), but did he? (auxiliary): Standard English has did for both functions.
2. Standard English does not permit double negation (negative concord), as in I
dont want none.
3. Standard English has an irregular formation of the reflexive, with myself based
on the possessive my, and himself based on the object form him. Non-standard
dialects generalise the possessive form, as in hisself.
4. Standard English redundantly distinguishes between the preterite and past
participle forms of many verbs, as in I saw I have seen, or I did I have done,
where dialects have forms like seen or done for both.
5. Standard English adverbs ending in -ly, as in Come quickly! Most non-standard
varieties use the bare form, as in Come quick!
6. Standard English relative pronouns that or which. Non-standard varieties tend to
have what.
Standard English is that form of the English language which is spoken by the generality of
cultured people in Great Britain. A distinction should be made between Standard English and
colloquialism, which he defines as informal Standard English, consisting of a vocabulary and,
occasionally, a syntax which are appropriate to familiar conversation Colloquialisms, in
time, may be promoted to the status of Standard English.
Much descriptive and theoretical work on Standard English is based on intuitions that are
more firmly grounded in written norms than in speech. This is so for three reasons. First,
academic linguists have intense contact with Standard English, particularly in its written form.
Second, until recently corpora of authentic speech have been derived from conversations among
academics. And third, it appears that very many speakers access to intuitions about typically
spoken or non-standard constructions is very shaky.