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Talking ProperThe Rise of Accent as Social Symbol$
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Lynda Mugglestone

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250622.001.0001

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Literature and the Literate Speaker

Literature and the Literate Speaker

(p.173) 6 Literature and the Literate Speaker
Talking Proper

Lynda Mugglestone (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how the ideal of the ‘literate speaker’, defined in terms of social, cultural, as well as linguistic values, was adopted as an important tenet of phonemic propriety within many works on language published during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Resulting notions of ‘literacy’ were applied to spoken as well as written forms, regularly influencing popular images of correctness. As Thomas Sheridan in 1762 had, for example, adjured, ‘good’ speech was to be dependent upon ‘giving every letter in a syllable its due proportion of sound, according to the most approved custom of pronouncing it’.

Keywords:   English language, literate speech, literate speaker, social status, cultural values

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