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Judging New WealthPopular Publishing and Responses to Commerce in England, 1750–1800$
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James Raven

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202370.001.0001

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Vulgarity and Social Grammar

Vulgarity and Social Grammar

(p.138) 7 Vulgarity and Social Grammar
Judging New Wealth

James Raven

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on notions of vulgarity in the late 18th century. The use of ‘vulgar’ to mean ‘ordinary’ or ‘commonplace’ was still in evidence in the 18th century. As a description of the lower social orders, however, the idea of ‘the vulgar’ was increasingly linked to deviance from standards of taste. In much imaginative literature of the period, ‘vulgarity’ became less a specification of class and status than a measure of disparity between social actions and station. Most late 18th-century writers mocking manufacturers' dialect speech presupposed a uniformity of accepted polite English. The period saw the escalation of London-based pleas for standardized grammar and pronunciation.

Keywords:   vulgar, grammar, social station, tradesmen, manufacturers, dialect speech, vulgarity, pronunciation

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