Letter: That Beryl just don't talk proper

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The Independent Online
FRANKLY, I am amazed to hear Beryl Bainbridge, a (presumably) educated person, displaying the sort of prejudices that I thought had disappeared with the realisation that "non-RP" speakers actually existed and had a role to play in Britain.

Ms Bainbridge obviously has no grasp of the difference between accent, dialect and language. I am particularly intrigued by the term "correct grammar and fluency". Does she mean the Latin grammarian objection to the split infinitive and ending a sentence with a preposition? A grammar book from the 1930s would have most people today in stitches through its proposed use of quaint rules - the use of "have got" in place of "have" being particularly frowned upon. Is this the correct grammar Ms Bainbridge has (got) in mind?

An accent defines regional identity and helps to give life to a Britain that is fast-becoming a "one-accent" state; a kind of pseudo-university, middle-class, middle-England, non-specific and non-definable speech form which gives no clue as to origin and is the linguistic equivalent of an estate of identical Barratt homes - characterless, soulless, comfortable and safe.

HARVEY CASWELL

London N7

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