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Dictating to the MobThe History of the BBC Advisory Committee on Spoken English$
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Jürg R. Schwyter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736738

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198736738.001.0001

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Crises and Reconstitution

Crises and Reconstitution

(p.66) Chapter 3 Crises and Reconstitution
Dictating to the Mob

Jürg R. Schwyter

Oxford University Press

While the Advisory Committee on Spoken English actively promulgated Received Pronunciation until its suspension at the beginning of the Second World War, there was soon a painful realization that some alternative pronunciations of a word were solely a matter of preference. Procedurally, a Permanent Specialist Sub-Committee of experienced linguists increasingly took over the workload. Lack of attendance, prescriptivist versus descriptivist linguistic attitudes, as well as personal animosities—in particular between academics—were major sources of conflict. All of this led to the accession of new members to the Committee, in two waves: in 1929, after the arrival and acrimonious departure of C. T. Onions, the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary; and in 1934, the year of a major enlargement, with a newly constituted main and sub-committee. Cumbersome meetings, however, and, for some members, lack of remuneration still persisted as problems, thus putting the functioning of the Committee at risk.

Keywords:   Functioning of the Committee, procedures, attendance, remuneration, Permanent Specialist Sub-Committee, C. T. Onions

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