Letter: Land of the dumb

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The Independent Culture
Letter: Land of the dumb

Sir: John Sutherland's reflections on the English language would carry more authority if he did not keep referring to the Standard English spoken and written in these islands as "English-English" instead of "British English", the term normally used.

Despite wide variations in accent and minor differences in vocabulary and grammar, the Standard English of Brighton has much more in common with that of Brecon, Banff and Belfast (not to mention Bradford and Birmingham) than it does with the Standard English of other Anglophone countries.

British English is one of the main things that keeps the nations of the United Kingdom together, and it will continue to do so even if devolution leads to the dissolution of the latter in its present form. In the year of the Welsh and Scottish parliaments, the assumption that England has some exclusive claim to its ownership seems quaint and defensive.


St Andrews, Fife