Letter: An English fit only for elites

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The Independent Online
All credit to John Honey for advocating the social desirability of Standard English. His proposal, however, for a National Language Authority would, if established, cause more problems than it would solve.

The reason for the "anything goes" approach to English in many schools was (unwarranted) suspicion of Standard English as a means of class oppression. Such suspicion would be fed by a National Language Authority, which would be regarded by many as an Orwellian, authoritarian apparatus.

Today there are many cultural argots and regional dialects in Britain. They reflect the experiences and interests of their speakers. The greater the diversity of these locutions, the greater the need for a single universal code that all can use with precision. Such a code needs to be monitored and revised by a body more demotic than the elite practitioners suggested by Professor Honey.

Gary Slapper

The Open University

Milton Keynes

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