Gotter stop them glottal stops, awight?
Campaign/ good English
Sunday 18 June 1995
Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Education, declared war at last year's Tory party conference on the growth of slang among schoolchildren and particularly on "estuary English", a bastardised form of Cockney that is spreading across Britain. She said local slang should not be used in polite society and that grunts and slack language were impoverishing children.
Now, a think-tank convened by the Department of Education has come up with several ideas for putting Mrs Shephard's promise into action. The group includes Sir David English, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, and Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, who attended a boys' grammar school in Surrey.
As well as "competitions between regions in the quality of spoken English", the group has proposed a new qualification in spoken English and a national survey of standards.
Only one of the 10 think-tank members has even a trace of a regional accent, let alone a dialect. Chrissie Maher of the Plain English Campaign, a self-confessed Scouser, said nothing more fruity than traces of the odd concealed plum emerged from the mouths of the group.
Ms Maher says she suspects the campaign is all about encouraging people to "speak posh".
"They said it wasn't about that: they said it was about raising standards of oral English. But I stuck out like a sore thumb - as a Scouser I don't think I would have a chance in these competitions. I think people tend to be impressed by very well-spoken people," she said.
Department of Education officials are now drawing up firm proposals for a permanent campaign to encourage better English and to hold back the advancing tide of glottal stops. It envisages something like the anti drink-drive campaign. A commercial agency might be appointed to help run the campaign, which could include television advertisements. According to minutes of a think-tank meeting, activities should be "unashamedly populist,". Plans for an annual "good English week" were among those rejected as "tired and familiar".
Mr Woodhead, enunciating as always with perfect clarity, said he thought spoken English was very important.
"I think this is a very interesting initiative. Clearly in taking it forward there has to be a great deal of careful thought," he said.
Leading article, page 26
A cautionary tale for ambitious would-be authors
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity' claims
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Exercise most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia, researchers say
- 3 Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Server Side De...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...
£40000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (P...
£44000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Confide...